Funeral Industry News

HERE’S Who to Contact to Request N95 Respirator Masks

March 27, 2020

HERE’S Who to Contact to Request N95 Respirator Masks

UPDATED 3/27/20: If your regular personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers haven’t been able to replenish your N95 mask inventory, you’re not alone. John Flowers, CEO of Bass-Mollett, and his team have been fielding plenty of those calls from customers just like you.

“It started last week,” Flowers said. “I started getting calls from sales reps who were getting calls from directors, medical examiners, and coroners. We had some PPE, but we didn’t have any N95 masks.”

Where’s the PPE?

There’s plenty of media coverage about the need for PPE — especially N95 respirator masks. However, there haven’t been any clear directions on where to place your request. Flowers knows this, perhaps better than most.

“I started calling around, and all of our normal procurement channels had dried up,” Flowers said. “I knew we had to figure out something to tell our customers. So I spent four or five hours researching government sites like the Health and Human Services and Homeland Security sites and others mentioned in the press conferences. I couldn’t find any direction on where to order N95s.”

To help him define and navigate the government’s process for PPE allocation, Flowers contacted Frank Watson, a friend and former Illinois Senator who also served as Senate Republican Leader. Watson put Flowers in touch with the chief of staff for Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois.“I explained that we just need to know where to call,” Flowers said. “I explained why funeral directors, coroners, and medical examiners needed N95s. They said, ‘Wow — we’ve never really thought of that.’ Somebody had to tell somebody that we need an allocation set aside for our industry.”

How to request N95s

Flowers’ efforts paid off on Monday, when he was finally able to answer the question, “Who do we call to request N95 respirator masks?” 

Here’s the process as it was explained to Flowers:

  • All N95s in existing stock and those being manufactured now are sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 
  • FEMA allocates supplies to each state’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) based on need
  • Each EOC manages requests from entities within its respective state — including death care professionals
  • To place a request for N95s, you’ll need to contact your state’s EOC.

CLICK HERE for complete contact information of Emergency Operations Centers for each state.

Connecting Directors would like to thank John Flowers and Bass Mollett for sharing this vital information with our profession, as well as Sen. Frank Watson, and the office of Rep. John Shimkus for their assistance.