Lake County Fire Rescue plans to begin sterilizing N95 masks for reuse among first responders in Lake County. In partnership with the Florida Department of Health, the Lake County Office of EMS and Medical Director, and the Lake County Office of Public Safety Support, the procured hydrogen peroxide Decontamination Unit can sterilize up to 300 masks at once during a three-hour process.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that N95 masks sterilized with hydrogen peroxide blocked infectious particles just as effectively as new masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved N95 sterilization and reuse, which will assist in filling the gap while product manufacturers work to meet the growing demand.
A sample run was completed and tested by AdventHealth. The test was negative for any bacteria or the virus, proving that the process successfully sterilized the masks. Mask integrity will be routinely evaluated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“This will put our first responders at ease knowing that there is a system in place that will ensure an unlimited supply of PPE,” said Lake County Fire Rescue Chief Jim Dickerson.