In response to a request from the government, the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is helping to locate the huge amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by rescue workers coping with the horrific attacks on Washington, D.C., and New York City.
The need for respirators, fire resistant clothing and other PPE is acute, and the procurement problem is compounded by the disruption in air service.
The governmental effort to get the PPE to those who need it is being coordinated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which contacted ISEA.
"NIOSH got in touch with us because of our contacts with member manufacturers," said Dan Shipp, president of ISEA. "We got them the information they wanted about east-coast suppliers."
NIOSH is involved because it is part of the Center for Disease Control, which has an anti-terrorism component.
Although the situation in New York City is more serious, ISEA is also involved in the devastation of the Pentagon, assisting the local Arlington, Va., fire department deal with its PPE requirements. ISEA has its headquarters not far from the Pentagon.
Some of the PPE items needed in large quantities are eyewash solution, eyewear goggles, gloves, and hearing protection.
Shipp said he hopes those in charge will be able anticipate future PPE requirements, to allow time for the products to be procured. He predicted that welding helmets, hard hats, and special PPE for cutting metal would be needed as the clean-up effort proceeds.
by James Nash