COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Columbus Police Department is holding Ebola preparedness training this week, training officers and staff how to interact with a possible Ebola patient. The training took place at the Public Safety Building on 10th Street on Tuesday, and will last several days since beginning on Monday.
Police are taking extra precautions by learning ways to avoid contracting the virus and training for a P.C.E., which stands for a Possibly Contaminated Event.
"We're giving them an Ebola Awareness class," said Lieutenant Charles Herlth with the Columbus Fire Department Training Division.
The class focuses on disease transmission and how officers can protect themselves against the Ebola virus. It also teaches personal health, keeping a strong immune system, and places where viruses can spread like car doors and radios.
"Especially the insight on being aware of the possible pathogens that you take back home to your family," said CPD Officer Alfonza King.
"If they start taking vitamin supplements and cleaning up after the transport you should see a lot less disease being transferred from officer to officer and from detainee to officer," Lt. Herlth said.
"You take things for granted," King added.
Officers already have completed basic training, but this class is more in-depth.
"This week in particular we're talking about the suits and the PP that we would have to wear in an advised Ebola case," Lt. Herlth said.
Officers are given this gear; a disposable suit, shield, mask, and gloves to use if they feel their safety is in jeopardy, and they appreciate the information.
"The training was enlightening and I think it makes everyone rethink the process, rethink what they're doing in their everyday life, their everyday metabolism with police work," King said.
Muscogee County Sheriff's deputies and marshals will also receive the same training.
Lt. Herlth also said that you shouldn't automatically panic if you see an officer wearing protective gear. Only a test can confirm Ebola, and the suits are just for the officers' safety.