WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg’s firefighters and paramedics will now be sporting reusable respirator masks while on call, instead of disposable ones.

The City of Winnipeg announced on Friday that the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has switched from N95 respirator masks to MSA Advantage 200 SL respirator masks, which are often used at fire scenes or hazardous material incidents.

The city noted each member was given a fit-tested MSA Advantage mask, and they will carry it with them while they’re on shift.

“The move to using these masks on all calls provides superior protection for the front line responders who often work in tough conditions,” it said in a news release, highlighting this switch will also free up the supply of N95 masks for other healthcare workers.

Winnipeg Fire Chief John Lane said their protocols have changed a number of times over the last several weeks, noting that crews now wear respirator masks, gloves and eye protection on all medical calls.

“We are all in this together. First responders and healthcare professionals are teammates, so if we can help improve the supply of disposable masks, then it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

The WFPS is taking measures to ensure its stockpile of personal protective equipment, such as mask cartridges, gowns, disinfectant and hand sanitizer, is sustainable over the course of the pandemic.

“The global supply chain is definitely stressed so we are doing everything possible to ensure our responders have what they need to protect themselves and their patients,” said assistant chief Mark Reshaur. 

“We are working closely with all our partners to ensure all those on the front lines have what they need.”