U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 announced that it is actively working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide excess personal protective equipment (PPE) to emergency and health professionals on the COVID-19 frontlines. EPA maintains a supply of PPE for mission-critical work such as responding to emergencies, including chemical, oil, radiological and biological incidents.
“Having sufficient personal protective equipment is crucial for the emergency services personnel and health professionals on the frontlines of combating COVID-19,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a statement. “EPA is making excess PPE available to these responders, and we also stand ready to perform missions we may be called upon to fulfill in this ongoing fight.”
“We are working with our regional FEMA officials to provide what limited quantities of equipment that we have to the states in our region that need it most,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede in a statement. “We don’t have a lot, but we know that every bit helps.”
EPA Region 5 identified more than 10,000 pieces of excess personal protective equipment after assessing how much equipment would be needed to support EPA’s essential functions. Among the items are N95 masks, protective disposable gloves and full-body protective coverall suits. EPA will donate excess equipment while still maintaining its emergency response readiness.
EPA maintains a supply of personal protective equipment as part of its laboratory, inspection and emergency response functions, such as responding to chemical, oil, radiological, biological and hazardous incidents. EPA also provides additional response assistance when state and local first responder capabilities have been exhausted or when additional support is requested. EPA is currently developing an agency-wide plan for rapid distribution of available personal protective equipment to state and local governments that are working COVID-19 operations.