‘It’s going to save our resources’: Firefighters, paramedics switch to reusable respirators

By | April 10, 2020

WINNIPEG — The Province of Manitoba has said personal protective equipment is in demand around the world.

PPE is needed for health care workers on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to this need, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service made some changes.

“We were using disposable N-95 masks initially,” said Jeff Jones, safety manager for the WFPS. “Due to supply issues and resources running low, we decided to make the switch.”

Jones said the WFPS is now wearing MSA Advantage 200 SL Respirators. These masks can be brought back to the station, disinfected, and reused.

He said the MSA Advantage Respirator provides superior protection for their members.

“The fit is better, the seal is better, the filter mechanism is better. It’s just a better mask all around,” said Jones.

He said the MSA Advantage Respirators aren’t new — every member of the WFPS is fitted with one when they’re hired.

Jones said crews are wearing their respiratory masks, gloves, and eye protection on all medical calls during the pandemic. Previously crews would only wear a mask on calls where the patient was experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Jones said when using N-95 disposable masks, the WFPS can go through as many as 500 in a day.

Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said N-95 masks are in high demand.

“Anything we can do that continues to protect workers, but also preserve supply is essential,” said Roussin.

He said we all need to be using personal protective equipment efficiently.

Jones said the WFPS will continue to use MDA Advantage Respirators for the duration of the pandemic.

“It’s going to save our resources,” said Jones. “It’s going to allow us to continue through this, and hopefully not have to worry about a supply of respirators or cartridges.”

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