WFPS sporting a new look on emergency calls

The move frees up disposable N95 masks for other healthcare professionals

Winnipeg fire paramedic service members wearing respirator masks in front of fire truck

Residents will notice a new look being sported by paramedics and firefighters attending emergency calls.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) crews have switched from using N95 respirator masks to wearing MSA Advantage 200 SL respirator masks, most commonly used at fire scenes or hazardous material incidents.

Each member was provided a fit-tested MSA Advantage mask, which they carry with them while on-shift. The move to using these masks on all calls provides superior protection for the front line responders who often work in tough conditions. 

The MSA Advantage masks use filter cartridges which are designed to be reusable. The cartridges can be cleaned and don’t require replacement after every call.

The switch to MSA Advantage masks also reduces the WFPS’s use of disposable N95 masks, freeing up supply for other frontline healthcare professionals.

“We are all in this together. First responders and healthcare professionals are teammates, so if we can help improve the supply of disposable masks, then it’s the right thing to do,” said WFPS Chief John Lane.

He adds that protocols have changed many times over the past several weeks and WFPS members are now wearing their respirator masks, in addition to their typical gloves and eye protection, on all medical calls. Previously, crews would only wear the mask on calls where patients were experiencing flu-like symptoms.

“The health and safety of our responders is paramount. We are doing everything we can to keep our crews safe.”

While WFPS always carries a large stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE), the department is taking measures to ensure its supply is sustainable over the course of the pandemic, including items such as mask cartridges, gowns, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer.

“The global supply chain is definitely stressed so we are doing everything possible to ensure our responders have what they need to protect themselves and their patients,” said Assistant Chief Mark Reshaur. “We are working closely with all our partners to ensure all those on the front lines have what they need.”

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