Responding to high demand, the City of Sacramento on Monday restocked supplies of the “particulate respirator” masks it has been handing out to the public.

The masks have been available for free at all City of Sacramento fire stations (with the exception of Station 16, which is closed). The City also has passed them out to people experiencing homelessness.

Find a Fire Station

The masks may help protect lungs from harmful particles from wildfire smoke. Currently, the Camp Fire is burning north of Sacramento in Butte County, affecting air quality.

Nearly 7,000 “N95” masks were taken to fire stations Sunday. Approximately 10,000 masks were part of the resupply, with sizes available for adults and children.

Daniel Bowers, Director of Emergency Management for the City of Sacramento, on Monday answered a few questions that have been appearing on social media about the mask-distribution program.

Q: How long will the City continue its mask-distribution program?

A: The City of Sacramento will continue to issue N95 particulate respirators to our community due to the poor air quality while supplies last. This issuance of masks is voluntary, and the City of Sacramento still recommends that the best method for protecting one’s health during the very unhealthy air quality is to remain indoors and limit outdoor activity. To monitor current Air Quality Index conditions in the City of Sacramento, please visit sparetheair.com.

Q: Where did the City get the masks to resupply the fire stations?

A: The resupplied N95 resources were provided by the California Department of Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness Division. This partnership to assist the community could not be possible without the swift support and action of California Office of Emergency Services.

We want our citizens to be prepared, informed, and educated on appropriate use of the N95, and as such, the City of Sacramento is taking a proactive approach to assist our residents on appropriate wearing, fitting, and specifications by distributing the N95s at fire stations, where a trained fire officer can provide appropriate instruction.

In addition to standard adult sized masks, we are also distributing a smaller, young adult sized mask. Fire stations near university and college campuses received larger quantities of these young adult masks due to students having to often walk greater distances between buildings.

Q: Is the City advising that people wear these masks?

A: At this time there is no recommended advisory to wear an N95 particulate respirator, however we will continue to make them voluntarily available to our community, including the homeless population who spend a majority of their time outside.

If you would like to purchase your own mask to conserve the supply for those who cannot afford to buy their own, or you would like to donate masks to your local fire station, please ensure they are labeled “N95 or “N100” and NIOSH approved.

Q: What if I go to a fire station to get a mask and no one is there?

A: If you knock on a door to a fire station and do not receive a response, please note they may be responding to an emergency call for service, and will return when they are able. Preferred hours of distribution at the fire stations is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thank you for your patience and support.