At the direction of Gov. Tony Evers, Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist the state in obtaining protective medical supplies that can be used by law enforcement officers and firefighters who are at risk of direct exposure to COVID-19 while performing their jobs.
“We are asking FEMA to help us purchase valuable medical supplies that will be used to protect our first responders as they do the important work of keeping Wisconsin safe,” said Gov. Evers. “It is our hope that the federal government can identify a source for these supplies as quickly as possible.”
FEMA is being asked to help Wisconsin obtain 50,000 non-surgical masks, 10,000 face shields, 11,000 coveralls, 3,000 N95 face masks, and 35,000 pairs of protective gloves through its procurement process.
“We recognize that this equipment is in high demand, and we thank our first responders for their patience as we work to identify additional sources of personal protective equipment,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, WEM administrator. “This initial request is intended to help meet the immediate needs of agencies across the state that continue to perform their daily duties, knowing they are at risk of being exposed to the virus.”
The request comes in addition to the state’s ongoing efforts to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). So far, the state has received about 52,000 N95 face masks, 130,000 surgical masks, 25,000 face shields, 20,000 surgical gowns, 100 coveralls, and 36,000 pairs of gloves from the SNS. Those materials are being distributed to direct healthcare providers in areas with known community spread. The governor is calling on federal officials to help identify additional resources.
The Department of Health Services is working with local and tribal health officers, health care providers, and other partners to adjust the response to COVID-19 as needed. As always, the public should follow simple steps to avoid getting sick, including:
- Frequent and thorough handwashing.
- Covering coughs and sneezes.
- Avoiding touching your face.
- Staying home as much as possible, but especially when sick.
- Avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people.
- Practicing social distancing.