OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Ottawa County’s director of emergency management says the stock of personal protection equipment for first responders there is about to run out.

“Our access to the normal supply streams is 100% shut down and we are at the point where we are out seeking donations to protect our first responders,” Nick Bonstell said Monday.

Bonstell said the county ordered new supplies of N95 and KN95 masks, face shields and gowns mid-March. But competition from the federal government for the Strategic National Stockpile and other buyers has delayed the delivery of Ottawa County’s orders until the end of April.

“When you start looking at the next two weeks as being that kind of forecasted ramp up in response, if it does come, we really need to make sure our first responders, our front-line staff are definitely protected,” Bonstell said.

Even the end-of-April delivery is not guaranteed.

“Definitely, it’s not a guarantee, and I think anyone who orders PPE supplies in this time will tell you that,” Bonstell said.

So he’s asking local businesses to essentially check their backrooms for the much-needed supplies.

“Any community member or business partner in the community that may not know they even have that PPE,” Bonstell said. “A lot of stuff we’ve been finding has definitely been in closets or back production areas that people have forgotten about. And we’re really to the point of the critical need (in terms of) the N95 (and) KN95 masks, anything we can get our hands on.”

The county is also asking for 2 and 4 ounce bottles for hand sanitizer.

“We have hand sanitizer, but we can’t find bottle to bottle it in to,” Bonstell said.

There are over 600 police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters in Ottawa County responding to emergencies every day.

“They, a lot of times, don’t know what they’re walking in to,” Bonstell said. “It could be as simple as thinking you’re going in to a diabetic emergency and finding out later that the patent is COVID-19 positive. So in order for them to be successful in those jobs, we need to make sure we have the N95 masks, gloves, gowns, everything that they need to protect themselves while they’re responding to those calls.”

The county is asking for the following items:

  • N95 or KN95 masks
  • Surgical masks
  • Gowns (all sizes)
  • Face shields
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 2 ounce or 4 ounce plastic bottles to fill with hand sanitizer

Donations can be made by contacting the Ottawa County Emergency Operations Center at OCEM@miottawa.org or by calling 616.738.4050.

“Our plea is to any businesses who may have these masks on hand, any gowns, any of these face shields, to please hook up with us and let’s try to get these first responders protected over the next couple of weeks,” Bonstell said.