FlaWARN Considerations When Providing and Accepting Mutual Aid in a Pandemic FlaWARN Considerations When Providing and Accepting Mutual Aid in a Pandemic

FlaWARN Considerations When Providing and Accepting Mutual Aid in a Pandemic - PowerPoint Presentation

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FlaWARN Considerations When Providing and Accepting Mutual Aid in a Pandemic - PPT Presentation

US Water Services Corporation wwwuswatercorpcom csalibauswatercorpnet Mutual Assistance Considerations The guidance in this document was collected from organizations across the industry The intent is to serve as a general information resource and not to set any industry standards This do ID: 808500

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Considerations When Providing and Accepting Mutual Aid in a Pandemic

U.S. Water Services Corporation




Mutual Assistance Considerations

The guidance in this document was collected from organizations across the industry. The intent is to serve as a general information resource and not to set any industry standards. This document is evergreen and will be updated regularly to reflect additional or revised guidance as it is received.

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Water and Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARN)

FlaWARN is the formalized system of "utilities helping utilities" address mutual aid during emergency situationsThese incidents may be man-made or natural disastersFlaWARN is made up of water and wastewater utilities across Florida, assisted by regulatory, technical, and other various agenciesThe goal of FlaWARN is to provide immediate relief for member utilities during emergencies


FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Water and Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARN)

The system works by matching personnel with the necessary tools and equipment to both assess and assist the impacted water and wastewater system as quickly as possibleFlaWARN can provide water and wastewater utilities with the means to quickly obtain help in the form of personnel, equipment, materials, and associated services from other utilities to restore critical operations impacted during any type of emergency, big or small

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Alicia Keeter*

South Walton Utilities

Lockwood Wernett*

Destin Water Users

Map from https://floridadep.gov/districts

Gary Williams (Vice-Chair) &

Joni SynatschkFRWAJamie Shakar

FDEPCarol Hinton &Ron TrygarUF/TREEO

Chris Saliba* US Water Services Corp.Andy Koebel*Bonita Springs UtilitiesKevin Carter*Broward CountyScott Kelly, ChairCity of West Palm Beach/ FRWATodd Swingle* Toho Water AuthorityBrad Jewell OUCRay Hanson Orange County

David Zusi City of Winter Park

Brian Matthews City of Palm Coast

2020 FlaWARN Steering Committee

= Regional Coordinator

FDEP = Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection

FRWA = Florida Rural Water Association

FWRC = Florida Water Resources Conference

SEFLUC = Southeast Florida Utility Council

UF/TREEO = University of Florida/ Training, Research and Education for Environmental Occupations

Beth DeMio*


Tony Fogel

Town of Jupiter

Tom Jackson

City of Punta Gorda

Holly Hansen*


Scott Aniheim

City of Starke



Maintaining Adequate Staffing Levels

Stagger shiftsExpand staging areas Reduce staffing Consider brining recently retired or separated employees with specialized training back to the organization Train and certify current employees for some specialized work as appropriate

Private operation providers Contact FlaWARN network to request assistance 7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Employee Tests Positive

Follow utility or company proceduresTracing the employee’s steps to determine other potentially infected workers as defined by the CDChttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.htmlNotify employees who may have come in contact with the infected employeeClean and disinfect the work areas before allowing others in the area

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/disinfecting-building- facility.html7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Responding to a Request for Assistance

Can the organization support a request for assistance?Have the needs been properly identified?Operator - license level and typeMaintenance – experience and expertise identifiedIs the receiving utility prepared to receive assistance?

SOP’s – Operations, sampling plans, log sheets, etc.Training – may not be possible Disseminate informationProperly disinfected work area’sPPE – required or provided

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic

Custom Daily Log Sheets


COVID-19 Access Considerations

Deploy personnel with appropriate credentials, company / utility identification cards, badges, or letters that identify them as essential employeesCredentials can reference the DHS guidance identifying utility workers as essential workers Utilize vehicles with company or utility logos

Be aware of local travel restrictions 7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


COVID-19 Access Considerations


FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Protecting Responding Employees

Social Distancing within the WorkplaceStaggered shiftsMaintain distancing Require temperature check stations when reporting to workEmployee health screenings / surveys – recent travel, exposure from outside the workplace, etc.

Strict requirements and screening criteria for any external candidates are necessary to limit the risk of contamination7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Challenges in Responding

Knowledge of Operational Practice - Specific, coordinated responsibilities, and orders of operation used to run their systemsDispatch of personnel, contingency plans, and system maintenance activityKnowledge of drinking water or wastewater systems (location of infrastructure, demand response resources, what type of remedial action schemes are available, etc.) is important for efficient operation.

Variance inherent in the water and wastewater treatment technologiesLimit the time and complexity of acclimation to a new environmentSupervisor Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and supporting toolsets are heavily customized, making it difficult to find replacement operators with the required knowledge

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Contamination Risk - Wastewater

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic




Coronaviruses are susceptible to the same disinfection conditions in the healthcare setting as other viruses, so current disinfection methods in wastewater treatment facilities are expected to be sufficient. This includes practices such as oxidation with hypochlorite (i.e. chlorine bleach) and peracetic acid, as well as inactivation through the use of ultraviolet irradiation.

There is no evidence to suggest that additional, COVID-19 specific protections are needed for employees involved in wastewater management operations, including those at wastewater treatment facilities. Wastewater treatment plant operations should ensure workers follow routine practices to prevent exposure to wastewater, including using engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE normally required for work tasks when handling untreated wastewater.

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic

Contamination Risk - WastewaterSource: www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/solid-waste-wastewater-mgmt.html


Respirator Considerations

When do I need a respirator?Entering a customer's premises where there is a confirmed COVID-19 case Unable to maintain 6-foot social distancingHow do I get a respirator?Contact your supervisor Do I need medical clearance fit testing before wearing a respirator?

Yes, you must complete medical clearance and fit testing every two years7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Respirator Considerations

What types of respirators are effective against COVID-19?NIOSH approved disposable, half-face, and full-face respirators How do I use a N95 respirator correctly?Follow proper donning and doffing, use gloves and follow sanitation protocolCan I reuse a N95 respirator?Yes, it must be inspected prior to each use to ensure all components of the respirator are intact

OSHA provided temporary relief to allow reuse and use of expired respirators7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Respirator Considerations

How do I store and dispose of a N95 respirator?Store respirators in a bag labeled with your nameDispose of respirators and storage bags as regular trash Can I use half-face and full-face respirators instead of a disposable? Yes, if N95 or higher cartridge filters are used

What cleaning instructions apply to half and full-face respirator?Half and full-face respirators must be cleaned using approved towelette or cleaning solution after each useWhat do I do if my respirator is damaged? Discard and replace any damaged respirators

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Work Practices

Responding crews should follow their organization’s policies and proceduresUtilities should work to minimize the chance of infected workers travellingRequesting organizations should minimize movement of crews to different regions in their territoryAssign the same crews to the same work areas 

Utilities should consider moving toward more isolated and self-contained responding teams Keep crew teams intact to minimize exposure7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Work Practices

Requesting organizations should avoid sending responding crews into areas or facilities with significant COVID-19 outbreaksWhen information is available, the requesting organization should provide full situational awareness of the COVID-19 impactRequesting organizations should clarify how long they expect responding crews to be in their areaRequesting organizations should identify a liaison in advance of receiving the responding crew


FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Work Practices

Requesting organizations should try to minimize person-to-person contactRequesting organizations should use technology for onboarding and briefings (e.g., online conferencing services, conference calls) or conduct briefings in the field to reduce large meetingsExtensive pre-staging should be avoided unless the threat is imminentPre-staging should follow social distancing practices

Both requesting and responding organizations should consider temperature screeningWork orders may be issued using electronic tickets and were supported by decentralized planners7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


General COVID-19 Safety Practices

If you are sick or have any flu-/virus-like symptoms, report this immediately to your supervisor and self-isolateWash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 secondsAvoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed handsRegularly clean your phones and handheld devices

Maintain social distancing whenever possibleAvoid shaking hands and touching othersUse “non-circulating mode” for vehicle air conditioning/heating/ventilation7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Staging Sites

Instead of large staging sites, requesting organizations should consider having multiple, smaller staging sites to limit contact with/exposure to crewsDesign smaller staging sites to allow CDC distancing recommendations to be followedCleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, sanitation supplies, etc. should be available for all crews located at staging areas

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Lodging, Meals, and Support Services

Requesting organizations should establish lodging and dining sites where social distancing can be established, and the requesting organization can manage and control access and direct sanitationThis can include appropriately sized sleeper trailers, tents, renting out entire hotels/motels, or nontraditional spaces for crew-only use

Keep crews that are working together in the same lodging and dining facilitiesConsider working with local authorities to develop exemptions from emergency closure and/or stay-at-home orders for hotels or other lodging facilities and their staff so they can serve mutual assistance crewsHave a plan for feeding crews in the event restaurants are closed by government orderCleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, sanitation supplies, etc. should be available for all crews located at all lodging and meals areas

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Lodging, Meals, and Support Services

Provide laundry service, if neededMinimize travel in large vehicles by having crews use trucks for transportationHave vehicles cleaned following CDC guidelinesTry to minimize exposure by providing box lunches, snacks, water, etc.

Utilities should check with hotel operators to confirm preferred hotels will remain open for mutual assistance crewsConsider using boxed meals to facilitate social distancing to avoid problems with restaurant closuresFor future large-scale events, consider food trucks and caterers who can provide boxed mealsPortable bathrooms may be required in areas where public facilities are closed, especially in non-urban areas

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


External Outreach and Communication

Requesting organizations should proactively communicate to regulators and government partners that water restoration and recovery may be slower due to the new response regimeRequesting organizations should proactively communicate with customers about social distancing effortsEnsure responding crews have consistent messaging and practices

Requesting organizations should work with local and state officials to ensure responding crews are designated as critical workers and are able to travel to and through the requesting entity’s service territory. Travel documents and authorizations from requesting organizations should be as specific and clear as possible

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Health Issues

Requesting organizations and responding crews should utilize the COVID-19 Visitor Questionnaire to evaluate health risksWorkers’ temperatures should be taken daily. If a worker has a temperature above 100.4 F, he/she should be removed from the workforce Assure that Operators have adequate touch-free thermometers and safety masks

Workers who become ill should follow CDC guidelinesWorkers should minimize the use of currency and use credit cards instead to avoid hand-to-hand contactFollow CDC recommendations for when individuals infected with COVID-19 can discontinue home isolation and return to work

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Health Issues

Follow CDC recommendations on implementing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers who may have had exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19Before sending crews for mutual assistance, consider how your organization would quarantine workers after deployment if they are exposed during the mutual assistance work or how you would comply with local and/or state requirements.

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Closing Considerations

Utilities are committed to protecting the people working for them and to ensuring operations and infrastructure are supported throughout an emergencyThe items in this presentation can help provide guidance for mutual assistance efforts while protecting the health and safety of employees, customers, and communitiesThis checklist may be used when providing mutual assistance for outage or staffing challenges during the COVID- 19 pandemic

Organizations providing or requesting mutual assistance should follow the terms and conditions of their existing mutual assistance or mutual aid agreements7/28/2020

FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic


Contact Information

Feedback is welcomed and encouraged. I look forward to hearing from those in this region to improve our communication and regional coordination efforts. My contact information:

Chris SalibaU.S. Water Services CorporationCell: (813) 416-3992csaliba@uswatercorp.net

7/28/2020FlaWARN – Responding during a pandemic