To our readers,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century type story, ... Click here to continue

Fire department asks public for protective masks

By Stephen Betts | Mar 20, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Rockland Fire Chief is asking for the public's help in acquiring sufficient numbers of N95 masks to protect public safety crews. One mask is pictured on the table at the fire department.

Rockland — The Rockland Fire Department is asking for the community's help in equipping its first responders with personal protection masks in the face of a growing threat from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rockland Fire Chief Christopher Whytock said Friday that the department has about 150 N95 masks for its 18-member department but that is insufficient for what they are expected to need.

"I am hoping to reach out to all the contractors, painters, store owners, medical offices, and anyone else who may have N95 masks.  As everyone knows the supply of proper PPE is so low, and we are being told we will not see any relief in the coming weeks.  I am pleading with anyone who is willing to either donate or sell them to our department, we would welcome any amount that is out there and not being used for healthcare workers and first responders," Chief Whytock said Friday.

People can call the firehouse at 594-0318 and the department can arrange to have the equipment dropped off or even picked up, the chief said.

The chief said the N95 masks are intended to only be used once, however, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is telling departments they can re-use them if needed.

"I'm not comfortable with that," the chief said. "They wouldn't be saying that if there was a sufficient supply. I'm not willing to lower the standards."

He said the department put in orders for the N95 masks in January and the state has received two shipments but more are not expected for quite some time.

If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at
Comments (5)
Posted by: Valerie Wass | Mar 26, 2020 06:21


Now a days, their men can also help.  LOL

Posted by: Nina Reed | Mar 23, 2020 08:15

there are women on fb making them at 3 for 10 and not guarenteed to help. nothing like taking advantage of a bad situation. patricia

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Mar 23, 2020 05:34

When I was a boy  women of faith rolled bandages for the war effort.  It is time, ladies, to utilize this time secluded productively. Perfect opportunity to put faith into action in the warmth of your own home.

Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Mar 22, 2020 16:45

Valerie, most masks selling on amazon are back ordered for weeks if not months, or doing an outright scam, taking the money and never delivering the product.

Valli Geiger

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Mar 21, 2020 11:02



If you wish to comment, please login.