New Berlin construction company donates excess N-95 masks for local healthcare workers amid shortage

NOW: New Berlin construction company donates excess N-95 masks for local healthcare workers amid shortage

NEW BERLIN, Wis. (CBS 58)- This week Vice President Mike Pence urged construction companies to donate N-95 masks to local hospitals. The Vice President says N-95 masks are capable of protecting healthcare workers from respiratory diseases on the job.

N-95 masks are different than regular, thin surgical masks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says most N-95 respirators are made to be used in construction and industrial type jobs to protect workers from dust and small particles.

The Vice President made the plea on Tuesday.

“We are asking them (construction companies) to donate their N-95 masks to their local hospitals and forgo making additional orders,” said Vice President Mike Pence.

Brian Fisher, Vice President of Operations at Anderson Ashton Design-Build out of New Berlin, says he’s responding to that call, even with his construction crew still needing masks themselves.

“The best way to keep it (COVID-19) from lasting long is to follow the guidelines that have been put out there, and I think we all have to do it,” said Fisher. “It’s a tough sacrifice.”

The CDC recommends in times of dwindling supply of the N-95 mask, healthcare workers responding to COVID-19 should consider wearing expired masks to optimize supply.

For Fisher it’s personal, because his wife is a healthcare worker.

“I know it’s a real problem for them, she talks about it, we talk about this every night, she has mentioned that there is a shortage for sure,” adds Fisher.

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence reassured governors they’ll be getting the N-95 masks they need. He says a bill signed by the president on Wednesday has unlocked tens of millions of N-95 masks.

“What the president asked the congress to do, and they did, was we extended all liability protection to all industrial N-95 masks. So those can be readily sold to your hospitals and healthcare providers,” Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday.

For now, Fisher plans on donating 40 N-95 respirators, but will continue to look for more to donate in the coming days.

“I wish to encourage my fellow contractors out there,” said Fisher. “If they can part with some of these respirators, please consider doing so.”

Fisher says he will be handing the masks off to his wife, who will bring them to the hospital she works at.

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