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November 16, 2 p.m. Update:
The City of Sacramento has received 200,000 “N95” masks from the California Department of Public Health and will continue to offer masks to people who request them.
Since Sunday, the City has been handing out N95 particulate respirator masks in response to heavy wildfire smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County. The masks have been available free of charge at City of Sacramento fire stations.
City personnel have also offered masks to those who are homeless. To date 67,000 masks have been handed out to people requesting them.
The City was prepared to phase out the program when supplies ran low last Thursday, but submitted a request for more masks to the California Department of Public Health. Early Friday morning the City received 200,000 masks from the state. The masks were delivered to all City of Sacramento fire stations.
Fire personnel will continue distributing masks to those who request them. They also will offer instruction on how to properly wear the masks. Preferred hours of distribution at the fire stations is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (If you knock on a door to a fire station and do not receive a response, please note they may be responding to an emergency call for service and will return when they are able).
“With the air quality in Sacramento at such unhealthy levels from the Camp Fire, the City is pleased to be able to continue offering N95 masks to people who want them,” said Daniel Bowers, Director of Emergency Management for the City. “These masks must be worn and used properly. If people have any questions about if they should wear one, they should seek the advice of a medical provider.”
Both the City and County of Sacramento have recommended that the best method for protecting one’s health during the unhealthy air quality is to remain indoors and limit outdoor activity.
November 14, 7:32 p.m. Update:
According to Daniel Bowers, Director of Emergency Management for the City of Sacramento, the County of Sacramento has decided to shut down a program that provided residents with free masks.
The masks were intended to help residents breath safely while outside after smoke filled the sky, creating unhealthy air quality.
Bowers told ABC10 that county officials are not fulfilling the city's requests for more masks because of a new policy the county instated today. The policy, according to Bowers, contradicts both state and federal policies regarding the masks.
The Director of Emergency Management for the City of Sacramento claimed the masks have provided a "significant amount of benefit to over 7,000 residents."
"We never contradicted the county's guidance before this new policy," he added. "It's frustrating, to say the least. I would take a mask any day if I were given the choice. It's sad that the county has tied our hands."
The Sacramento County Public Health Officer released the following statement on the situation.
"At this time, the Sacramento County Public Health Officer is advising only the appropriate use of the N95 respirator mask for those in the fire zone that do not have access to filtered or recirculated air and instead is strongly advising the residents of the Sacramento County region to stay indoors and avoid exposure to smoke. Prolonged use of N95 respirator mask can exacerbate symptoms in those with respiratory problems. N95 respirator mask use by those with heart and respiratory diseases can be dangerous, and should only be done under a doctor’s supervision."
5:45 a.m. update
The Chico Fire Department posted on Facebook all the locations for where people can obtain N95 masks.
8:15 p.m. update:
The City of Roseville is also providing free masks due to the Camp Fire smoke blanketing the area. You may pick up a free particulate respirator mask at any of Roseville's eight fire stations.
The City of Sacramento will be handing out particulate respirator masks after smoke from the Camp Fire filled the skies this week.
The heavy wildfire smoke created poor air quality over the weekend.
The masks will be handed out at all City of Sacramento fire stations, except for Station 16, which is closed. According to Sac City Fire, most stations should have a full supply by 1 p.m. Sunday.
City employees will be handing out free masks to homeless individuals as well.
According to the Sac City Fire, the city has received almost 7,000 N95 masks from the Sacramento County Emergency Medical and Health Coordinator and plan to ask for more depending on the demand.
“Public safety is a priority for the City of Sacramento,” said Daniel Bowers, Director of Emergency Management for the City. “With the air quality as bad as it is from the Camp Fire, we felt this was the right time to make the masks available to anyone who wants one.”
According to the California Department of Public Health, the masks are the same ones worn by firefighters to help protect lungs from dangerous and harmful particles in wildfire smoke.
“Sacramento firefighters know how to use these masks," said Capt. Keith Wade, spokesman for the Sacramento Fire Department. "We look forward to helping distribute them at our fire stations."
According to a press release from the City of Sacramento, the air quality in Sacramento Sunday registered as "very unhealthy." Masks will be available until the air quality reaches to a safer level.
Watch now... A cafe owner steps in to help when a Redding man faces an unspeakable tragedy in the aftermath of the Carr Fire: