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First responders and health care workers will get clean masks easier and more efficiently

Company sets up shop to decontaminate face masks for first responders and health care workers amidst a mask shortage.

JACKSON, Tenn. — An airport hanger in Jackson, Tennessee, is housing more than airplanes. Inside N95 respirators will be set for recycling.

“Our goal is to receive the masks and send them back out within 72 hours," said Ryan Stahlin, the site lead at Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System.

Stahlin says Battelle is working to address the current shortage of personal protective equipment or PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. For healthcare workers on the front lines, a mask is part of their safety net. Crates now empty will see thousands of masks cleaned with hydrogen peroxide vapor.

“It’s giving first responders and healthcare workers a way to reuse these masks up to 20 times and that could make all the difference," commented Stahlin.

Health care providers across the Tennessee can now for free send in their masks and get them back once they are processed. Memphis hospitals are said to have already signed on for the decontamination system.

“If the people who are there to care for you when you get sick can’t be there to care for you because they’re sick because they didn’t have proper PPE, they whole system breaks down,” said Wayne Arnold, the Regional Hospital Coordinator for Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department.

Battelle has dozens of sites that are operational across the country.

FEMA is assisting in coordinating the delivery of the systems.

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