CHARLESTON — Jerry Loudin, president of the West Virginia State Firemen's Association, has issued the following statement from the West Virginia State Firemen's Association and it's more than 300 member departments following recent reports that DTC3X masks provided to first responders by state agencies are not approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
"The members of the West Virginia State Firemen's Association are deeply concerned to learn that personal protective equipment provided by the state to first responders does not meet NIOSH guidelines and therefore may expose its members to possible infection. As first responders on the front line, it is not our job to certify personal protective equipment. Organizations such as NIOSH, with their years of experience, certification and training, are heavily relied upon in our industry to provide appropriate guidance on such matters. We don't have the expertise to qualify certified personal protection equipment provided to our members, so we have to rely on the State of West Virginia and Federal Agencies, and trust that what's provided is safe for our use. It is a serious concern of our association that we would be put in this type of precarious situation. By trusting the equipment to protect them, our members may have unknowingly placed themselves in situations that put them at further risk."