Volunteer Firefighter International

Expired N95s All That’s Available for Ala. Volunteer Fire Depts.

By Tiffany Lester, WHNT:

Some Marshall County volunteer firefighters, including those at Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department, are frustrated the new N95 respirator masks they received to wear on medical calls are expired.

Alder Springs volunteer fire chief James Edwards told WHNT News 19 they often feel overlooked despite being the first on scene for most medical calls.

“We’re walking in to the unknown. For example, we get called out on a cardiac call, a chest pain call and we get there and all of a sudden they say, ‘Well, we’ve been coughing, we’ve got a fever, this and that. We’re having to pull back put our PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on and then go back in there,” explained Edwards.

A nationwide personal protective equipment shortage during COVID-19 isn’t making things easier.

“They’re sending everything to the hospital and the doctors and are they really thinking of the firemen, the EMS personnel that’s out here on the frontlines,” said Edwards.

But the Marshall County EMA said they gave out all they were able to get to the volunteer fire departments, full-time fire departments, and local law enforcement.

“It is a nationwide program with strategic national stockpile. The lack of availability surgical masks, N95 masks everywhere. So, what we had was expired N95 masks that we were trying to get out to our first responders,” said Marshall County EMA Anita McBurnett.

Read the full story here.

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