At the request of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Direct Relief today established two distribution sites in Santa Barbara to provide N95 particulate respirators (masks) for local residents affected by the Jesusita Fire.
The distribution sites will be staffed by Direct Relief staff and volunteers and members of the Santa Barbara County Medical Reserve Corps. The MRC includes volunteer health physicians, nurses, and other health professionals. This is the first time the MRC has been activated in response to a public health emergency.
The mask distribution is taking place today from noon to 3 pm at two locations: Loreto Plaza, at the corner of State Street and Las Positas, and Lazy Acres Market, at 302 Meigs Road on the Mesa.
Direct Relief today also committed up to $50,000 in internal funding to respond to the Jesusita Fire. “This is our home, these are our neighbors and friends, and we will do everything we can to help,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief president and CEO.
The masks, or N95 particulate respirators, filter out fine matter in the air and are recommended to help protect people with respiratory conditions during wildfire events. Residents who must be outside in the smoke and ash are also encouraged to pick up masks today for their personal use.
Direct Relief staff has been in frequent contact with officials at the Emergency Operations Center to respond to needs as they arise, including a request last night for more than 600 N95 masks for use by emergency responders and a wheelchair for an evacuee at the shelter at Dos Pueblos High School