The Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Management recently provided local first responders with more than $15,000 worth of personal protective equipment, also teaming up with the Rio Rico Fire District to provide training on the proper fit, use and care of the 3M masks included in the donation.
Ray Sayre, the county’s emergency management director, said the masks provide 100-percent filtration “and are the highest level of respiratory protection short of supplied purified air.”
He noted that these models have an extended life, as opposed to single-use disposable N95 masks, and their filters can be used up to three months if they’re not contaminated.
The masks, along with replacement filters, were given to local fire and law enforcement agencies. And because the masks do not fit everyone and are classified as respirators by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agencies are required to conduct a fit test for all who receive them.
The mask distribution was made possible by a $60,000 donation to the Office of Emergency Management by the mining company South32 for COVID-19 preparedness.