First responders seek to limit exposure to poor air quality

VIDEO: Firefighters, officers switching to N95 masks

The smoke and poor air quality have the experts warning people to stay inside. That’s not possible for many workers, including first responders.

In Bellevue, officers are hitting the streets wearing N95 masks.

“All of our officers are required to wear face masks, whether it’s a surgical mask or a gator. However, with the thickness of the smoke, we’ve given them the opportunity to have an N95 while working,” explained Capt. Alycia McKinney of Bellevue Police Department.

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Along with the masks, they’re limiting officers' time outside when they’re not on a call.

In Issaquah, firefighters with Eastside Fire and Rescue are cutting down their exposure too.

“We’ve actually canceled our training for our crews outdoors,” said Bat. Chief Russ Tanner of Eastside Fire and Rescue.

The masks they were already wearing to protect from COVID-19 exposure are helping with the smoke too.

“We’re following our COVID protocols, which are working well for the wildfires. When we’re not on an actual calls, we’re wearing surgical mask or cloth mask. Then when we’re on emergency incident, we’re utilizing the N95,” said Tanner.

The smoke is expected to last through Thursday.