Area fire departments ask for donations of masks, gloves, protective gowns

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Governor Tony Evers and state health officials gave an update to the COVID-19 epidemic on Friday.

Area fire departments ask community to donate personal protective gear as global shortage surges.

Andrea Palm, secretary designee at the Wisconsin Department of Public Health says the state will be getting a shipment of personal protective gear from the federal strategic stockpile, but it won’t be enough to protect all health care workers from the coronavirus if there is a surge in patients.

“Globally everybody is looking for the same kinds of things to fight this epidemic,” said Palm.

Palm says the state is working with the private sector to ensure manufacturers have the means to make more personal protective equipment such as N95 masks, gloves and gowns.

State officials say first responders are among the top priority personal to get the supplies, but they didn't specify when.

In the meantime, the Green Bay Metro Fire Department turned to Facebook asking the community to donate hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and masks.

“Right now we have enough to last us a few weeks, and that's if everything kind of stays how it is. If things get worse we could run out faster,” said Lt. Shauna Walesh.

The De Pere Fire Department put out a similar call on its Facebook page asking for donations.

Every paramedic that responds to a call now will wear a mask, goggles, gloves and if necessary a gown.

“When we arrive on scene, we're also offering you that protection in the sense of a mask, so not only are you protected from us but we will also be protected from you,” said Assistant Fire Chief Rich Annen of the De Pere Fire Department.

Annen says they also have enough equipment to last the next few weeks, but within hours of the posts both fire departments say people started dropping off donations.

“One company, Little Rapids Corporation, has already donated us some gowns which has been huge and other people too who have dropped materials off at our stations, we really appreciate that,” said Lt. Walesh.

To donate to the Green Bay Fire Department contact Captain Thompson at 920-448-3275 or email joeth@greenbaywi.gov.

To donate to the De Pere Fire Department, you can drop items off in the lobby of City Hall or call the fire station to facilitate a drop, 920-339-4091.