Students enrolled in the Oswego County BOCES New Vision Law and Government class recently had a guest visitor, Mark Bender, a 19-year veteran with the New York State Troopers, spoke to the students about protecting themselves against blood borne pathogens.
Law enforcement officers and many other law and government careers are at an increased risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens including HIV I and II, and Hepatitis A, B, and C.
“Whether you are a police officer, a social worker, a lawyer, or a first responder, you will come into contact through your career with someone who is bleeding,” said Bender who offered this simple advice, “If it’s wet and it’s not yours, it is bad.”
Trooper Bender discussed several layers of protection that everyone in law enforcement should utilize including gloves and safety glasses. He cautioned the group to be aware that exposure to potentially dangerous fluids can be in seemingly innocuous settings that don’t involve direct human contact, such as mail packages. He also stressed the importance of reporting any exposure that may occur.
The blood borne pathogen training is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandated training for all law enforcement officers and other jobs that pose a risk of exposure to body fluids.
Trooper Bender also spoke to the students about his background as a lifeguard, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and Respiratory Therapist before his acceptance into the NYS Troopers. Bender has been a Trooper for 19 years and recently moved into his “dream job.” Bender was recently a graduate along with his four-legged partner of K-9 training school. He and his German shepherd Mandin, are part of the K-9 unit out of North Syracuse barracks.