AUSTIN—Texas Baptist Men donated 15,000 protective masks and assorted other supplies to be used by hospitals and first responders across the state in the midst of the growing novel coronavirus pandemic.
TBM disaster relief leaders donated 10,000 N95 masks, 2,000 biohazard suits and four decontamination tents to Texas Division of Emergency Management officials in Austin on March 23. Emergency management officials will distribute them across the state. TBM also directly is giving 5,000 masks—typically used by TBM mud-out crews who clean homes after floods—to Dallas-area first responders.
“On behalf of the state of Texas, I would like to thank Texas Baptist Men for stepping up and providing thousands of critical resources for hospitals and first responders that are in need of protection as they tirelessly serve our state during the COVID-19 response,” Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd said. “TBM continues to set the standard as a nonprofit organization that answers the call.”
The N95 masks, in short supply around the globe, block 95 percent of particulate, protecting nurses, doctors, EMS workers, firefighters and police officers from being infected by the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.
As the virus has spread across Texas, emergency management leaders are receiving requests for the masks daily from first responders wanting to protect themselves as they serve the community.
“This pandemic is unlike anything TBM has responded to since our founding in 1967,” TBM Disaster Relief Director Dwain Carter said. “Still, we are called to deliver help, hope and healing in the midst of every disaster. It’s our prayer these masks protect first responders and save lives as people on the frontlines battle this virus.”
Gov. Greg Abbott reported March 22 that 566 Texans have tested positive for the virus or have been presumed to have contracted the virus. Seven Texans have died from the disease. Dallas County has the most cases in the state, followed by Harris County. As testing becomes more available, the number of cases is increasing quickly.
The donation of equipment conservatively valued at over $100,000 in the current market is viewed as a first wave of response for an organization whose 10,000 volunteers have responded to every major natural disaster in the state for more than 50 years. All TBM volunteers and mobile kitchens are on alert and prepared to serve if they are needed.
“Our teams stand ready to meet widespread needs as they arise,” Carter said. “Fully staffed, we can provide 200,000 meals a day. We always hope we’re not needed, but we’re always prepared in the event that we are.”
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