Dear Representatives Joyce and Trone,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 795, the “Protecting First Responders from Secondary Exposure Act.”
Law enforcement officers and other emergency responders are at risk of exposure to dangerous substances, like fentanyl and anthrax, that can cause serious illness or death. Officers can come into contact through inhalation, skin contact, ingestion, mucous membrane contact, or through contact with needles. To make matters worse, it is impossible to know exactly what any given substance is prior to analysis. These instances of accidental exposure can occur when officers or other responders are just doing their everyday jobs.
Your bill would allow State and local governments to purchase containment devices through the existing Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP). In addition, this legislation would also provide for training on how to properly use the containment devices. These devices are designed to contain a release and prevent secondary exposure to potentially lethal substances. These devices help prevent exposure to fentanyl, anthrax, lethal powders, and other unknown chemical substances that law enforcement officers and other emergency responders encounter while in the line of duty. Containment devices not only protect heroes from dangerous exposure but also better preserve these chemical substances and allow for law enforcement agencies to investigate cases more quickly and safely.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for your leadership on this important issue. I am proud to offer our support for this necessary legislation. If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.