Healthcare workers around the world are scrambling to find personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves while caring for patients. With more and more hospitals being filled and the number of diagnosed cases rising, their supplies are dwindling. Critical supplies like medical-grade masks, gloves, respirators, and sanitizer are harder and harder to come by.
Part of this shortage is due to how unexpected and fast-spreading the Coronavirus has been. That aside, another major issue has been non-medical workers, regular citizens, stockpiling and hoarding protective supplies for themselves. While the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities highly recommend taking extra precautions and protecting yourself, they caution that medical-grade masks such as surgical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for medical personal. The CDC now recommends cloth face coverings in public spaces.
We are all in this together and our ability to bounce back will depend on how well we work together to make sure the proper equipment gets to those who need it. Now is the time that those of us who have prepared ahead can step in, donating extra supplies to the cause. We’ve gone ahead and followed the example of many and donated our extra stock of N95 masks and medical grade gloves to our local fire station and hospitals in need.
Below are ways around the country to donate masks.
Where to donate PPE:
Medical professionals have taken matters into their own hands on social media. Using the hashtag medical staff have started plea directly to the public requesting proper PPE. The only problem with this is the practicality of getting the supplies directly in their hands.
PPE Link was created by a team of STEM professionals in the medical, scientific, and engineering who have recognized the need. Their aim is to connect institutions in the STEM industry with extra PPE stock with medical facilities in need. Their site allows both donations and requests along with a specific list of PPE and supplies needed.
Reach out to your local Fire or Police Stations.
Many local communities have been hosting PPE drives and collections. Our local Clackamas County fire station has a PPE drop off and continues to collect for our community.
Association of American University (AAU)
Mask Match is a similar platform as the PPE Link but targeted at the general public. It helps anyone with extra masks get their overstock directly in the hands of front-line medical professionals. It also allows both requests and donations through their site.
Find The Mask
Find The Mask is a member of the #GetUsPPE coalition, a grassroots movement of medical professionals and healthcare workers aimed to connect donors with facilities in need. Find The Masks links you with professionals in need in your local area.
Contact Local & State Health Departments
Don’t have PPE to donate, but still looking to contribute? If you are still looking to get involved but don’t have extra supplies, many of these resources are also accepting financial donations. You can also use search crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe were numerous campaigns have been created to source funds for local and non-local PPE needs.
If you are feeling crafty you can also make PPE for donation. Craft store Joann is working to support medical professionals across the country, and some locations are even offering free tools and supplies for making supplies to donate.
Prepare today the Cascadia way!