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PPE Challenges: Important Information for the First Responder Community

Mar 25, 2020

We are all aware of the challenges of obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) during this pandemic. We hope this information will help address concerns and clarify the replenishment request process.

The current shortage applies to all health care disciplines – the challenges you are experiencing are being felt by your peers. As a nation, we are working very hard to address the challenges through ramped up production and distribution as resources become available. First Responders are recognized as a high priority component of the nation's critical infrastructure. Decisions regarding PPE allocation are based on specific and identified need and are being prioritized based on those needs.

It may be helpful to reinforce to the first responder community the process for submitting your requests for resupply. It is critical that requests are submitted through the proper process.


  1. Continue to submit your request for replenishment of PPE through your normal distribution supply chain. While the supply remains limited, filling those orders will be challenging and you may not receive your entire requested order.
  2. To request supplies from state or federal resources (eg: stockpiles or reserves), you must submit those requests through your established local emergency management structure. Based on that structure in your state, your request may be then processed through the emergency management chain or through the public health chain to state level emergency management. From the state level, it will be transmitted to the federal level. Final decisions for health care material are made by HHS which will then order distribution of the material.
  3. When submitting that request, indicate the following:
    • Agency
    • Specific material and quantity request
    • Detailed risk / exposure justification for the request
      • Current on-hand requested supplies
      • Burn rate of current supplies
      • Other information pertinent to the request
    • Alternatives that are available and risks associated with pending gaps

This information will be critical in helping to determine the reallocation plan. Please understand that your request is important and is being considered seriously in the context of similar requests from your peers. The shortage of PPE will continue to challenge the COVID-19 response. Following the appropriate process for requesting supplies will be critical to your success.

Thank you,

Jon R. Krohmer, MD, FACEP, FAEMS
Director, Office of EMS