Oklahoma City firefighters to use firefighting breathing apparatuses to protect against COVID-19

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Oklahoma City firefighters will start using breathing apparatuses normally used during firefighting to protect themselves from COVID-19 while not dipping into the short supploy of N95 masks.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City firefighters will start using breathing apparatuses normally used during firefighting to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Oklahoma City Fire Department members activated a backup plan to use their self-contained breathing apparatuses as protection against COVID-19 as a response to the limited national supply of N95 masks, according to a news release issued by Battalion Chief Benny A. Fulkerson, the Fire Department’s Public Information Officer.

“We still have N95 masks, but depending on how the pandemic progresses, our supply could be depleted to an inadequate level,” Fulkerson said.

Using a self-contained breathing apparatus serves the following crucial purposes:

  1. An SCBA is the best respiratory protection available for firefighters. This is why they are used in toxic environments such as structure fires.
  2. We will not be unnecessarily depleting an already scarce supply of N95 masks which emergency responders and healthcare providers across the nation all need.

OKCFD officials produced the following video demonstrating how members of the Fire Department approach a patient who appears to have COVID-19 symptoms:

“Together we will get through this challenging time, we appreciate your cooperation and, as always, we are here if you need us,” Fulkerson said in the video.

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