KUTV: Utah's PC Laptops fronts the bill to get COVID-19 first responders protective gear

https://kutv.com/news/coronavirus/utah-business-fronts-the-bill-to-get-covid-19-first-responders-protective-gear

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Utah first responders on the front lines of COVID-19 are in need of protective gear.

According to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, many police, firefighters and EMTs across the state do not have access to masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves, but a Utah business owner is working to change that.

Dan Young unloaded the truck of his jeep and carried boxes filled with 3,000 3M N95 masks into Reyes’ office on Monday. Young is the president of PC Laptops and also a friend of Reyes.

Young said:

I was reading about a lot of front line responders getting infected and not having protection in the field. I called Sean and said, ‘hey how you holding up?’ and he sounded super distressed. He said we are out of protection for our team members out in the field.

Young and his company went to work. As computer manufacturers, they have access to 3M N95 masks made in Asia. They donated what they had in their warehouse and ordered 20,000 more on the spot.

“American Express credit card, haha! We’re just throwing it on our company credit card right now,” he said.

Young’s company is fronting the bill, hoping Utahns will step up. They’ve created a GoFundMe to raise money to buy more masks.

“We can’t really wait for all the fundraisers, we just have to get it because the supplies are dwindling,” Young said.

Reyes says:

Law enforcement, by in large, doesn’t have any access to masks. We’re not blaming anyone. We’re not pointing the finger, we’re just dealing with reality.

Especially in rural Utah communities, first responders are left defenseless against COVID-19, Reyes said. Until now, they have not had access to protective gear.

“It’s not just the masks for our personnel, for law enforcement, fire, EMTs, it’s for the people they are saving,” Reyes said, “You might have noticed in other states, first responders have gone on strike. They’re not answering the call because they’re not being protected. We don’t want that to happen.”

So far, with Young’s help, they’ve donated protective gear to 53 agencies across the state and that number is growing. Young has a shipment of 10,000 more masks arriving Tuesday. Reyes’ office will distribute them to agencies across the state.

Reyes says:

We appreciate anyone who can step up and protect our front-line responders while they are protecting us.

Young said he’s hoping to donate thousands more masks, but he’s counting on the community to support the effort. If you can help financially, donate to the GoFundMe. If you cannot donate right now, Young asks you to spread the word on social media to get the message out.

“$10 helps two front line responders and gets them gloves and masks,” he said, “We really just have to band together to do what we can and that’s how we’re going to get through this.”

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