Soto, Murphy Call on Governor DeSantis to Immediately Provide Orlando First Responders with Critical Equipment to Protect Against COVID-19

April 7, 2020
Press Release
Orlando Police Department and Orlando Fire Department are both dangerously low on masks, gowns, and other supplies needed to protect themselves and the publi

ORLANDO—U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto today called on Governor Ron DeSantis to immediately provide first responders in Orlando with the critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and the public. In their letter to the Governor, the Central Florida Members of Congress note that the Orlando Police Department (OPD) and the Orlando Fire Department (OFD) are both dangerously low on masks, gowns, and other supplies needed to protect against COVID-19.

“As you know, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics are putting their lives at risk every day and they cannot be left unprotected from the threat of COVID-19. We respectfully request that you work with the Florida Department of Emergency Management to fulfill these requests as soon as possible,” wrote Murphy and Soto. “We understand that PPE resources are scarce and that areas of the state most affected by COVID-19 have received priority consideration. However, such limited disbursement to central Florida is unacceptable. When Florida receives the coming shipment of materials from the SNS, we urge you to direct critical protective gear for law enforcement to OPD and OFD.”

OPD and OFD have followed protocol and directed their PPE request to Orange County’s Office of Emergency Management, which referred that request on to the Florida Department of Emergency Management. Both units have also adjusted community response procedures and have reduced PPE consumption considerably. However, OPD and OFD have only received about 10 percent of the items they’ve requested. Murphy and Soto say they expect the agencies to have their supplies depleted as early as next week.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Governor DeSantis:

We have been advised that central Florida’s first responders are in urgent need of personal protective equipment (PPE).  Specifically, we have been informed that the Orlando Police Department (OPD) and Orlando Fire Department (OFD) are dangerously low on masks and gowns and that their supplies of these items will be depleted in the next week or two weeks.  As you know, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics are putting their lives at risk every day and they cannot be left unprotected from the threat of COVID-19.  We respectfully request that you work with the Florida Department of Emergency Management to fulfill these requests as soon as possible.


As of April 6, Florida announced it would receive a third shipment from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) that evidently will include the following items:

  • 540,000 N95 masks                          
  • 246,000 face shields             
  • 1,026 coveralls                      
  • 714,354 gloves                    
  • 1,290,000 surgical masks       
  • 201,000 gowns                       

OPD and OFD have followed protocol and directed their PPE request to Orange County’s Office of Emergency Management, which referred that request on to FDEM.  Both units have also adjusted community response procedures and have reduced PPE consumption considerably.  Unfortunately, OPD and OFD have only received about 10 percent of the items they’ve requested.  We understand that PPE resources are scarce and that areas of the state most affected by COVID-19 have received priority consideration.  However, such limited disbursement to central Florida is unacceptable.  When Florida receives the coming shipment of materials from the SNS, we urge you to direct critical protective gear for law enforcement to OPD and OFD.

Sincerely,
 

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