Note: This is day 6 of National Preparedness Month . Follow this year’s campaign on Twitter by searching for the #NatlPrep hash tag.
This month, as part of NPM16, I’ll be rerunning some edited and updated older preparedness essays, along with some new ones.
Over the past couple of years the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) – like N95 respirators (and gloves, gowns, eye protection, etc.) – have gotten a good deal of scrutiny, what with the surge in Ebola cases, sporadic MERS outbreaks, and the introduction of HPAI H5 viruses into North American poultry.
The experts in protective equipment are the folks at the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) which is part of The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and each September they celebrate National N95 Day (usually on 9/5 but this year on 9/6).
And given that this is also National Preparedness Month, and proper respiratory protection can be vital during certain types of emergencies, N95 Day has a lot of applications.
First, a link to the NIOSH N95 day website, and the information it provides, and then I'll return with a bit more.
Today is our 5th annual N95 Day! Leading into the event, we looked at the top five reasons to tune into N95 Day. Now that the day has arrived, we updated this list with this year’s new resources as well as some of our old favorites.
1. Using social media for respiratory protection resources – it’s like a breath of fresh air!
Don’t miss the social media party happening all day today. If you are a respiratory protection program manager or user of N95 level filtering respirators, you’ve made the VIP list.
2. Grand opening! We’re launching our new home for hospital respiratory protection resources:
- Look for us on Facebook to test your N95 respirator knowledge with trivia questions. But don’t stop there, @NIOSH and @NPPTL will be showcasing an array of respiratory protection resources through our Twitter feed. Use the #N95Day. You can also find memes, new infographics, and more N95 Day fun by checking us out on Instagram. (@NIOSHUSA)
- This year’s annual N95 Day blog focuses on Proper Use, Filtration, and Fit - The Three-Legged Stool of Respiratory Protection. Learn how each of these important factors contribute to the effectiveness of respiratory protection.
- Did we mention infographics? With a focus this year on use, filtration, and fit, we packaged some of this important information into quick-study infographics to be used as educational tools. We hope that you will download, print, and use these to promote proper respiratory protection program practices. You can find our entire supply of previous N95 Day infographics on the NPPTL infographic webpage .
Establishing an effective hospital respiratory protection program can be a particularly complex mountain to climb. We want to help make this easier for administrators of these programs. That’s why we are launching a new webpage on the NPPTL site specifically dedicated to organizing all of our NIOSH information on this topic. The new page will be broken into categories of a hospital respiratory protection program, as established in last year’s OSHA/NIOSH publication - Hospital Respiratory Protection Program Toolkit: Resources for Respiratory Protection Program Administrators .
In pursuit of this educational effort, this year also saw the publication of a new NIOSH Workplace Solutions document. This document aims to clear up some of the major myths of respiratory protection in healthcare: Preparedness through Daily Practice: The Myths of Respiratory Protection in Healthcare.
3. Annual N95 Day Webinar: The Science Behind Respirator Fit Testing in the Workplace: Past, Present, and Future
This year, our annual N95 Day webinar aims to help participants answer two common questions:
Registration for the webinar is now closed. But don’t worry if you missed it. We will post the webinar video and slides after the event.
- Why does the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require employers to fit test employees who are required to wear filtering facepiece respirators or half-mask elastomeric respirators?
- And why every year?!
(Continue . . . )
A few N95 masks, along with a box of surgical masks and some exam gloves, makes a nice addition to any emergency or first aid kit and have a variety of uses.
One should note, however, that while N95 respirators can provide excellent protection, a proper seal must be maintained (see Survival Of The Fit-tested).
Over the past year I’ve featured a number of blogs on the proper use of PPEs. For those who may have missed them, or wish a refresher, a few highlights: