The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released a solicitation contracting for temperature screenings at two facilities it wishes to reopen in Washington state as it attempts to allow its employees to return to work in anticipation of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions being eased.
Though the current solicitation is just for the two locations in what it refers to as ‘Region 10’ (the American northwest, including Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state), FEMA had previously issued broad guidance on what tests should be performed and what tech should be used to work towards the reopening of all of its facilities back on March 23.
Though FEMA officials said the agency will be responsible for the identification of screening locations as well as equipping and setting them up, the vendor will be responsible for the actual screening process. As guidance, FEMA outlined a three-step process to be followed.
First, the screener must ask the individual for permission to conduct their test, and if permission is refused then entry is to be denied, and the employee will need to contact their supervisor to establish an alternative remote work option.
Once a test is permitted and administered, any individual with a temperature above 100.4 degrees fahrenheit will not be allowed entry and will be instructed to contact their supervisor about what to do next regarding working from home.
Additionally, the vendor will also be expected to provide all personal protective equipment (PPE) — including masks and gloves — for the employees, along with the necessary tools and supplies needed to conduct the temperature checks; and the devices themselves are required to be contactless, non-invasive infrared thermometers.
Hand sanitizer and alcohol sanitizing wipes — also to be provided by the vendor — must be used to “disinfect the thermometer before first use, after accidental contact, and after taking the last measurement for the day.”
Finally, FEMA’s solicitation acknowledges the potentially dangerous nature of the work, saying that “no individual will be intentionally exposed to COVID-19, however, it is possible that a contract employee performing screening may discover an individual that is asymptomatic, but still infected.”
The contract is to run from the time it is awarded until the threat of the pandemic has subsided, with FEMA reserving the right to “terminate part or all of services, adjust hours and days as necessary” during that timeframe.
May 14, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis