20,000 Respirators Distributed to Residents, Responders, and Evacuees in Shelters

6 pm: With the completion today of a second consecutive community-based distribution effort at three sites in Santa Barbara, Direct Relief has furnished more than 20,000 N95 particulate respirators to local residents, emergency responders, and those staying in shelters.

Direct Relief today also resupplied the Jesusita Fire Incident Command Center, from which hundreds of firefighting crews and vehicles are being directed in the massive effort to fight the blaze.

With air quality poor due to the Jesusita Fire, the masks are recommended for anyone working outside and with respiratory conditions.

In the “good timing” category, Direct Relief today also completed a nearly two-year, $500,000 project to install a 250-kilowatt generator to ensure the organization can function independent of the power grid in an emergency situation such as the current fire. This project was generously underwritten by the Orfalea Fund.

The clean-burning, diesel-powered generator, which was successfully tested today, can power for up to six days without fuel resupply (and indefinitely with resupply) Direct Relief’s offices and distribution-center warehouse facility, recharge all warehouse equipment, and maintain temperature-controlled storage, as well as information and security systems.

This project has been one of several infrastructure improvements undertaken to lift operational performance, ensure business continuity in emergencies, and achieve the highest commercial standards for the handling of pharmaceutical products.   One result of these efforts is that Direct Relief is the first and only nonprofit organization in the United States to be accredited as a Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor (VAWD) by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Learn more about VAWD.

Direct Relief’s emergency response team remains activated to assist in the response to the fire emergency and will continue to coordinate with public health officials as the situation unfolds.

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