The FDNY is playing a dangerous game when it comes to personal protective equipment and the safety of their first responders. Use the last of it up? Or try to make things last? In either scenario, first responders are being exposed to COVID-19 at a dangerous rate.
According to the NY Post, some EMTs are disobeying the FDNY’s order to not wear N95 masks during most emergency calls. The FDNY order states EMTs and paramedics can wear the masks only when doing “aerosol-generating procedures.” These procedures can release small particles containing the virus into the air.
The issue is, the first responders don’t always know the situation they’re entering until they arrive at the scene.
Vincent Variale, who represents uniformed EMS officers, compared the COVID-19 outbreak to the 9/11 attacks saying, “After 9/11 the federal government said the air was fine, and 20 years later we’re still dying of cancer,” Variale said. “Shame on the FDNY for not going above and beyond what the CDC recommends.”
FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said the guidelines were meant to conserve the supply of N95 masks and that workers should use surgical masks for other situations, including patients with fevers and coughs, which could be symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. The N95s offer more protection than surgical masks.
Spokesman Dwyer did state that if EMTs were found using the N95 masks against the rules, that they would not be disciplined.
FDNY was scheduled to get 500,000 masks last week, but the White House diverted those to other areas.
The highly-sought-after N95 masks provide more protection that standard surgical masks.
Both hospital workers and first responders are desperate to get their hands on whatever PPE they can get.
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