QUICK GUIDE ON THE N95 RESPIRATOR  FOR FIRST RESPONDERS

QUICK GUIDE ON THE N95 RESPIRATOR FOR FIRST RESPONDERS

N95 MASK CLEANING, HOW TO CLEAN N95 MASK, COVID-19 MASKS FOR POLICE

Here is a quick guide on the most common questions when it comes to respiratory PPE. Most of the following requires proper mask handling with clean hands to prevent contamination and proper storage. Feel free to follow the link here for a more in-depth discussion on PPE on CDC’s website.

CAN THE N95 MASK BE REUSED OR USED FOR EXTENDED TIME?

The short answer is, yes. It’s important to know the difference between reuse and extended use. Reusing an N95 mask requires the user to take the mask on and off several times for days on end. Extended use of the N95 mask is usually on the users face for long periods then discarded after a shift or day. The following recommendations are straight from the Center for Disease Control’s website.

 

N95 EXTENDED USE CONSIDERATIONS:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water (20-second min.) or use an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after or anytime you touch the N95 respirator.
  • Discard the N95 respirator if it becomes contaminated with blood, nasal secretions body fluids or if you become in contact with infected subjects.
  • If possible use a face shield or cover to protect the N95 respirator and extend its life

N95 REUSE RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water (20-second min.) or use an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after or anytime you touch the N95 respirator.
  • Discard the N95 respirator if it becomes contaminated with blood, nasal secretions body fluids or if you become in contact with infected subjects.
  • If possible use a face shield or cover to protect the N95 respirator and extend its life
  • Store used respirators in a clean storage area. A breathable paper bag would suffice and make sure to place them in your trunk in case you transport an infected subject in your patrol car. If storing more than one mask place them in separate paper bags to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Routinely clean or replace mask storage areas to prevent contamination.
  • Due to the repeated donning and doffing, use clean gloves to adjust and periodically check for a good seal on the user’s face. Discard gloves after and always use new gloves or clean hands when touching the mask for any reason.

CAN THE N95 BE CLEANED?

This is a very controversial topic. There have been reports of medical professionals using hydrogen peroxide vapors to decontaminate the N95 Masks. According to the American Journal of Infection Control, the most effective method is Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) the downside is most people do not have access to this method. The manufactures generally do not recommend wetting the mask or using chemicals as it will reduce the filtration and possibly ruin the integrity of the mask. As of today, placing your mask in a decontaminated location with fresh air and sunlight seems to be the safest route for decontamination.

COVID-19 MASK CLEANGING, HOW TO CLEAN MASK N95, POLICE MASKS FOR N95

IMPORTANT N95 TAKEAWAYS:

  • Always use clean hands or clean gloves whenever touching the mask for any reason.
  • Store mask in a clean and breathable environment.
  • Protect mask with a face shield or cover if possible.
  • If the mask becomes contaminated discard immediately.
  • Clean mask by placing the mask in a sterile area with fresh air and sunlight.

 

Sources:

https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(18)30140-8/pdf

https://www.nebraskamed.com/sites/default/files/documents/covid-19/COVID-Extended-Use-Reuse-of-PPE-and-N95.pdf?date03212020

https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/473937O/3mtm-cleaning-reusable-respirators.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/hcwcontrols/recommendedguidanceextuse.html