The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), the world’s largest Flight Attendant union representing nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 19 carriers, has notified Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain and key federal agencies overseeing aviation safety and health of protective and response measures needed to support aviation’s first responders and safe air travel.
AFA’s checklist includes responsible actions for managing and containing communicable diseases. By focusing efforts on prevention for all crewmembers, aircraft cleaning, and a collaborative response plan with airline management in the event of an Ebola exposure in-flight, AFA is leading efforts to minimize, contain, and eradicate the risk of Ebola from being further spread through civil aviation.
Here is the checklist demands:
Ebola and Other Communicable Disease Incident Response Checklists
AFA calls for the federal agencies overseeing aviation safety and health to require that all airlines comply with the following measures.
Prevention for All Crew Members
- Provide an adequate supply for every Flight Attendant on all flights of non- allergenic gloves and masks that are determined appropriate protection by the CDC and/or WHO.
- Provide an adequate supply of medical gloves and masks that are determined appropriate protection by the CDC and/or WHO for any volunteer medical personnel assisting with medical situations.
- Ensure each flight has one universal precaution kit for every Flight Attendant on duty plus two additional kits for intervening healthcare personnel. Universal precaution kits should include all items specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as follows:
Universal precaution kit:
— Dry powder that can convert small liquid spills into a sterile granulated gel — Germicidal disinfectant for surface cleaning
— Skin wipes
— Face/eye mask (separate or combined)
— Gloves (disposable)
— Protective apron
- Permit Flight Attendants working on flights to wear gloves anytime during the flight without any discriminatory or disciplinary actions being taken against them.
- Issue guidance to all crew in the event that a passenger exhibits signs or symptoms of infectious disease during a flight.
- Require pre-flight briefings to communicate the use of universal precaution procedures and equipment to prevent exposure on a flight and to review guidance in the event that a passenger exhibits signs or symptoms of infectious disease during a flight.
- Provide an adequate supply of masks and sick bags for any passengers who exhibit symptoms on a flight.
- Provide an airsick bag that is immediately available for each passenger.
- Ensure all aircraft meet the federal requirements for access to soap and running
- Provide on all flights equipment necessary to take temperatures of potentially
infected persons without requiring physical contact with those individuals.
- It is a federal requirement to have running water, soap and clean towels on every
flight – but if a flight is scheduled to leave in violation of this regulation then the airline should ensure Flight Attendant(s) has the ability to wash hands with running water and soap prior to departure of every flight and provision a sufficient quantity of sanitary alcohol-based wipes.
- Make all of the above stated supplies a no-go item (required for aircraft dispatch).
Require airlines to follow CDC recommended guidelines for cleaning aircraft and any contaminated areas after a flight with a sick traveler who may have Ebola or other communicable diseases, including protection and training for the aircraft cleaners.
Crew Members on a Flight with Infected Passenger
- Immediately lock-down crew names, similar to an airline incident/accident.
- Immediately contact the union leadership with the names, cell phone numbers,
current locations, and in-sheltering locations of impacted crewmembers.
- Coordinate with the crewmembers union leadership around any issues related to
care and protection of the crew.
- Immediately remove crew with pay and benefits for the entire disease incubation
- Provide all resources necessary to safely in-shelter the crewmembers during the
incubation period; for example, safe and secure location with meals and medical supplies provided, including, but not limited to, thermometers for self-monitoring and protective masks.
- Cover all medical costs related to potential exposure, including, but not limited to, tests, doctor visits, and medications.
- Once the in-sheltering period is over, provide transportation to the crewmember’s choice of base or home.
- Provide an external (non-airline employee) mental health professional who can make daily confidential telephonic wellness calls to the in-sheltering crewmember. Crewmembers may accept or decline calls at their own discretion.
- Within 8 hours of knowledge of the incident, the company and union will implement the communications plan.
Management Plan Checklist
- Establish an unrestricted, transparent, and confidential on-going communication flow plan between the company, union(s), and managing public health authorities.
- The company and the union(s) will develop a joint communications plan, including message templates, to be used in the event of a communicable disease related incident aboard an aircraft.
- Establish a plan for in-sheltering of crewmembers following a communicable disease related incident aboard an aircraft.