Why the RFS won’t pay for ‘game-changing’ respirator masks

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Volunteer firefighters spending extended periods battling NSW bushfires say they are having to cough up significant sums of money for upgraded respirators, amid fears the disposable masks issued by the Rural Fire Service aren’t providing enough protection for the severity of exposure.

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A Facebook post by a member of the Copacabana Rural Fire Brigade on the state’s Central Coast requesting donations so firefighters could buy P3 masks costing $350, prompted outrage that the masks aren’t provided.

But a spokesman for the RFS insisted disposable P2 masks remain the most appropriate respiratory protection for volunteer firefightings – and he said P3 masks, by design, can pose risks such as an increase in the likelihood of heat stress.

The disposable P2 masks are “a practical solution for managing exposure to bushfire smoke when taking into account other risks such as the displacement of metabolic heat,” the spokesman said.

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Content retrieved from: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/why-the-rfs-won-t-pay-for-game-changing-respirator-masks-20191212-p53j9w.html.

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