THORNTON, Colo. (KDVR) — Emergency responders and medical staff around Colorado know they may need to begin recycling personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 crisis.
Some agencies are putting out a call for extra gear they say could help save their lives.
Centura Health says they have enough gear for now, but they plan to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, should they have to recycle things like masks.
“Sometimes that may involve wearing a face shield or as simple as making sure your hands are as clean as possible. One of the recommendations is to use brown paper bags and put your name on it so you can keep your mask in that bag,” said Dr. Andrew French, Centura’s St. Anthony North Health Campus Chief Medical Officer.
This week, Valiant Contractors, Foundation Building Materials and Elite Drains donated masks to Littleton Adventist Hospital, which is part of the Centura system.
Hospitals across the state are being asked to conserve that type of gear and hospital space by halting elective surgeries.
In Indiana, one hospital even posted a video showing people how to sew masks at home – saying they may need them.
In Thornton, firefighters have been using more gear than usual while answering COVID-19 calls.
Some departments are concerned they could run out of supplies.
It’s the reason CVJ Axles of Brighton gave Thornton firefighters 1,200 N95 masks it had in storage.
“We are in a time of crisis. We can get through it if we work together. I have seen lots of hoarding and hear stories of hoarding and it seems to me that I would rather help than hoard,” CVJ President Steve Skirrow said.
Thornton Fire was grateful.
“We’re seeing more of these calls for service every day as we progress through this. And again, this donation doubled our supply. This will effectively allow us to run another month,” Thornton Fire Lt. Theo Gonzales said.
Gov. Jared Polis has made an appeal to the federal government for more personal protective gear for emergency and medical workers across the state. However, it’s unclear if and when that gear will come.