To the Editor:
My name is Suhani Suneja, and I am a Wilton High School senior and a new EMT volunteer with the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps (WVAC). As the coronavirus pandemic has raged on, Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps members have been serving the community–arriving at doorsteps donned in N95 masks, thick goggles, gloves, and sometimes, face shields, gowns and more. However, the crews still face a risk of coronavirus on every call.
The N95 masks, while safe relative to other alternatives such as surgical masks and KN95 masks, only protect against this virus to a limited extent, still allowing some of the dangerous particles through. This is a concern for all of us at WVAC, as we must sometimes spend extended time in close proximity with patients who have coronavirus. Sitting a foot away from a coughing patient in a small closed ambulance compartment makes anybody afraid of receiving coronavirus.
For this reason, I started a fundraiser to purchase half facepiece respirators. I wanted to start this fundraiser to encourage my community and family and friends to support the EMS serving the Wilton community. In addition, the decreased 911 call volume means less revenue [for WVAC], while more PPE supplies are being used, causing a financial issue.
These respirators use two filters on the sides to block respiratory particles from entering. Unlike the non-reusable N95 masks, the half facepiece respirators are made of more permanent material, meant to last for years. These masks can continue to filter coronavirus particles because of the replaceable filters on the side. They can be switched out occasionally so that the mask is always hygienic and able to filter out respiratory infectious particles. Switching to half facepiece respirators would also mean that Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps could avoid a potential PPE shortage in the future.
Each reusable respirator costs about $50, and WVAC plans to buy replaceable filters too. To donate, please visit the fundraising page.
WVAC Volunteer EMT