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COVID-19 Updates and What the U.S. Government is doing about it.

 

The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Installation Commander has declared a Public Health Emergency, and directed Health Protection Condition (HPCON) to CHARLIE effective immediately and for the foreseeable future. HPCON CHARLIE is defined as an elevated risk of sustained community transmission.

The installation's top priority is preservation of force and mission while we work to protect the health, safety and welfare of our community. In order to achieve this, the Installation Commander has directed:

- Mission-Essential Personnel Reporting Only--contact your unit chain of command to determine your status and work requirements
- Stop Movement on the Installation--limited to mission essential travel only*
- Suspension of Trusted Travel Program; Closure of Government Hill Gate, and Post Road Gate closed to private auto traffic; Arctic Valley Gate closed on weekends; Richardson VCC closed--expect potential curtailments and closures
- Further reduction of garrison and tenant services--we are working to find ways to provide virtual services as much as possible
- Commissary and AAFES resources will remain available with current mitigating efforts in place
- CDCs will remain open for currently enrolled children but limited to on-duty mission essential members that are mil to mil, single military and CDC employees. Currently enrolled children with extenuating circumstance need to contact their CDC Director.

*Mission essential travel means remaining at home except to leave for work in critical jobs as prescribed by unit chains of command; to buy groceries or other important goods; to receive or provide health care; to drop off or pick up children from care; and to get fresh air while observing 6-foot social distancing between non-family members. Individuals are also encouraged to practice recommended personal and environmental hygiene, including regular hand washing.

The Installation Commander and 673d Medical Group Commander hosted a Facebook live virtual town hall to provide updates on the situation, and field questions from the community. You can find the townhall on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/JBERAK/videos/235719767571347/ 

Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Killer

By TSgt. Kyle R. Augsburger | Jan. 10, 2020

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —

With the lowest temperatures since 2017 hitting Anchorage and JBER, people are trying to find ways to heat their homes, garages and other occupiable spaces. This increases the risk for carbon monoxide exposure, depending on how the heating is accomplished.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning accounts for 20,000 emergency room visits, 4,000 hospitalizations and more than 400 deaths in the United States every year.  Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely.  Common sources of carbon monoxide are vehicles, furnaces, dryers, fireplaces, water heaters, and grills.

A University of Alaska Fairbanks carbon monoxide fact sheet identifies several factors that contribute to CO emergencies in Alaska during winter: smaller homes, winterizing home slowing air flow, alternate heat sources, using portable generators and spending more time indoors.  These factors give Alaska some of the nation’s highest carbon monoxide-related fatality rates.

Anchorage Daily News (ADN) released a news article February 21, 2017 reporting the death of an 18 year old and seven injured from carbon monoxide.  The cause of the CO was determined to be heating system boiler in the garage. 

You can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by:

  • Ensuring vents for fireplace, stove, furnace, and dryer are not blocked by snow or debris.
  • Have your appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Use grills, outdoor fireplaces, smokers, and other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices outside and here at JBER they must be at least 10 feet away from structures.  Never, ever use a combustible engines without proper ventilation.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors outside of sleeping areas and on each floor of your home.  This also applies to all tents with cooking or heating by means of fuel-fired equipment during field exercises.
  • Test carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace batteries twice a year during spring and fall time changes.
  • Replace carbon monoxide detectors according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Normally 5-7 year lifespan) Three common types of detectors are battery operated, plug in and smoke/CO combination alarm.

If you think you are experiencing CO poisoning the signs and symptoms are: headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.  The higher the concentration of CO the quicker symptoms will appear and can cause loss of consciousness and death.  People that are sleeping, drunk, under the influence of medications or drugs can die from CO before they display symptoms or wake up.

How to respond to a carbon monoxide alarm or suspected poisoning:

  • Evacuate the home and move to fresh air.
  • Do not ventilate the area because this will make locating the cause more difficult.
  • Account for everyone in the home.
  • Call for help after moving to fresh air and wait for emergency personnel.

For additional information regarding carbon monoxide or other fire safety tips contact the Fire Prevention Office at 384-5555.