Preparing front-line responders for Ebola threat

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Federal Agents who guard our borders and nurses at local hospitals say they are not getting enough training to handle the suspected cases of Ebola.

From U.S. Airports to ports of entry, like the one in San Ysidro, agents with Customs and Border Protection are supposed to be extra vigilant to screen for suspected cases of the Ebola virus.

But the head of the union representing San Diego area Border Patrol agents say so far, his members have received no training on what they should do.

In an incident a few days ago, Border Patrol Agents took a family of three to Sharp Hospital in Chula Vista after complaints of symptoms consistent with Ebola.

After medical screening, no infection was found and the family was released.

But how would agents know if someone was truly ill?

Gabe Pacheco says his members have not received any special instructions for screening, and even though customs and Border Protection says those protective suits are supposed to be on hand, Pacheco says that is not true.

Jennifer Riggs is worried too.

She is a nurse who works in a busy San Diego hospital, and she says nurses like herself are not getting the training they need to deal with possible case of Ebola.

Riggs says most hospitals are not giving their staff enough preparation or training.

On Tuesday, two groups of union nurses will meet with Governor Jerry Brown in Sacramento to ask for a formal upgrade in safety policies and procedures, and ask for more drills and training.

The CEO of Scripps Health says he has purchased 750 protective bio-contamination suits, and is conducting hands-on training with staff.

In a nationwide survey by National Nurses United, 84% say their hospital has not provided them with any special education on Ebola.

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