City of Seattle Leading Coordinated Effort to Collect Critically-Needed Personal Protective Equipment for First Responders, Medical Professionals on the Frontlines of COVID-19 Response

The City is partnering with Goodwill Industries and Labor partners to support firefighters, police officers and medical professionals across the region. 

Seattle (March 20, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today a partnership with Goodwill Industries, and Labor union partners to help coordinate the collection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for distribution to those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak. The City is working closely with Public Health – Seattle & King County and Washington State Department of Health. 

Fire, emergency medical services, police, and medical facilities in the region are in critical need of PPE supplies for their personnel. The City will begin surveying Seattle-based non-emergency hospital and medical facilities, veterinary organizations, and dental offices today to proactively solicit donations. Supplies needed at this time include new and unused N95, P100 and surgical masks, gloves, disposable gowns, eyewear, and more. Members of the Seattle community who have supplies available can also fill out the survey.

“The work first responders and health care workers have done to respond to COVID-19 is nothing short of heroic, and it is of the utmost importance that they have the equipment they need to protect the broader community. As we continue to seek more supplies from the federal government, we know our hospitals need these supplies urgently. As facilities across the City have temporarily closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are PPE and medical supplies sitting on shelves right now that we can immediately repurpose to save lives,” said Mayor Durkan. “In recent days, we have seen volunteers and organizations, including our Labor partners, stepping up in incredible ways to donate masks and other supplies, and we knew as a City we could help organize these efforts. Now, I am asking all of Seattle to do what Seattle does best, and that is to come together to donate supplies.”

“While Seattle area nurses and medical staff are saving lives, they shouldn’t have to worry about shortages or running out of protective gear and becoming sick themselves, and the impact that would have on their own families,” Council President M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide). “While the federal government faces challenges on ensuring proper stock of medical gear, it’s time for Seattle to think creatively and work together so frontline staff have the tools they need to do their jobs, because the work they’re doing is keeping all of us safer.”

Acting quickly to address this crisis, labor unions joined together to develop a website specifically to solicit donations. Communities in and around Seattle, can also donate toward that effort here.

“Seattle Fire Fighters are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and we depend on PPE to keep us and our patients safe. Your donations will help keep us and other first responders in our region healthy so we can continue to serve our community,” said Kenny Stuart, President of Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27. 

“Home care and nursing home workers are taking care of our most vulnerable residents and our vulnerable themselves – lets get protective equipment to the people who need them most, health care workers and other frontline workers who are putting themselves at risk to serve vulnerable residents,” said Sterling Harders, President of SEIU 775.

“We are facing critical shortages of personal protective equipment for health care workers in our state, which is forcing nurses to care for COVID-19 and other infectious patients without the masks they need,” said Sally Watkins, PhD, RN, Executive Director of the Washington State Nurses Association. “In the face of this national shortage, we urgently need and appreciate any help we can get to keep our nurses and other frontline caregivers healthy and on the job. Your donations will help us be there for you when you need us most.”

“Our health care workers are on the front lines of this pandemic without the necessary protective equipment and the entire labor community is coming together to support them,” said Faye Guenther, UFCW 21 President. “We are asking workers in all industries, from the building trades to dental offices, to donate unused equipment, and we thank those who have already stepped up with donations by the hundreds.”

Upon receiving a donation through the survey form, City employees will follow up with the donor to determine the best route for drop-off or pick-up of donations. The City is partnering with Goodwill Industries in King County for picking up donations. Starting today, the city will be able to dispatch Goodwill to providers to arrange for pickup services. If a donor prefers to drop off materials, a City employee will coordinate a date and time. All supplies collected will be relocated to a centralized facility in the SODO neighborhood provided by a private company as a collection point. If someone has any additional questions about the City’s effort, they can reach out at PPEdonations@seattle.gov

Coinciding with these actions, the State of Washington is working with local jurisdictions to identify needs, and fill shortages of specific PPE. The State is also soliciting donations from large companies, purchasing from sources outside of normal contracts, and coordinating with manufacturers that are willing to shift gears and repurpose their manufacturing operations. Companies that can alter operations to support this endeavor should contact Impact Washington Center Director Deloit Wolfe, dwolfe@impactwashington.org or 425-681-6798.