Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners director Susan J. Soloway announced at the Jan. 5 reorganization meeting that the board has approved providing respirator units to each of the county’s 13 volunteer rescue squads.
“Providing two state-of-the-art Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) kits to each of the county’s thirteen rescue squads is part of the Board’s continuing effort to support those who have put themselves on the line for all of us, not only throughout the pandemic, but also through the years,” Soloway said. “I am advised these respiratory protection systems give maximum protection to users and are of significant value for responding to unknown air quality situations.”
Soloway added, “The equipment carries a cost that normally exceeds the fiscal capabilities of local volunteer units, which have also been severely affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic. Our first responders have put themselves on the line for all of us throughout the pandemic. Where the county can provide these brave individuals with the equipment and protections they need, we are going to do so.”
Commissioner John E. Lanza, the board’s public safety liaison noted, “The County’s Office of Emergency Management has worked tirelessly to provide the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to those on the front lines of the pandemic, including rescue squads, fire companies, our municipalities, and many other entities. These air respirators will enhance protections for those emergency medical services personnel who are often confronted by the unknown in the field.”
Brayden Fahey, Hunterdon County’s acting Public Safety Director and Emergency Management Coordinator said, “Experiences over the last several years have prompted our EMS agencies to implement enhancements for both responder and patient safety.
“Incidents like the 2014 Ebola outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic pose communicable disease and illness risks that required agency leaders to identify additional personal protective equipment. These Powered Air Purifying Respirators will offer tremendous protection in the pre-hospital environment.”
The equipment is expected to be distributed by the end of the week.