The US National Ski Patrol has issued a policy for member personal protective equipment (PPE) for the organization’s 30,000+ members. The new policy mandates approved facemasks and other forms of PPE in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.
All NSP members have now been notified of the following NSP national office guidelines:
- A three-layer cloth or surgical style mask should be worn in lift lines, the lodge or in any situation where social distancing cannot be maintained.
- A surgical style mask, or an N95 respirator mask, should be worn when providing first aid.
- An N95 respirator mask and eye protection should be worn when involved in aerosolizing procedures.
- All patrollers, while providing first aid to an individual, should use PPE, including gloves, eye shields, and gowns as appropriate for the situation and location.
It is unusual for the NSP to issue national guidelines to patrollers, since in recent years it has been the patrol units that set the local standards of care. This set of guidelines appears not to be communicated as NSP standards of training, but as mandatory standards of care for patrollers to follow nationwide. It has become clear in recent months that the US approach to leave standard-setting around PPP to state, county and city officials has led to ineffective social distancing and facemask use, and new Covid 19 hot-zones around the US. The NSP is attempting to get ahead of that, and help keep its patrollers and the skiers they serve safe this season.
Doing so will be no small task as 650 local patrols and 31,000 patrollers prepare for the upcoming season. For its part the NSP has agreed to make N95s, surgical masks, gloves, face shields, gowns and other forms of PPE available to patrols and directly to member patrollers through its NSP Online Store.