Amid Rise in COVID-19 Deaths, “Last Responders” PPE Awareness Fundraising Initiative Helps Protect Funeral Industry Workers
Death care professionals are often not considered when people think of “front line” workers, but in fact their job starts when the medical professionals’ ends. Still, they have received no support from FEMA, or any outside health organization to date. Meanwhile, funeral homes in hot zones are reaching maximum capacity, with extremely hazardous material from the deceased not being picked up and properly disposed of in a timely manner.
Facing the possibility of mass fatalities due to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, Funeral Advocates of America LLC (FAA) is taking matters into their own hands by launching an initiative to raise funding to buy PPE to donate to funeral homes across the nation.
Co-Founded by Ashley Jackson and Dr. Hari P. Close, the ‘Last Responders Awareness Initiative’ is committed to drawing attention to combat the issue of the severe lack of protective equipment and the growing crisis of COVID-19 casualties amongst death care professionals.
In partnership with GetUsPPE.org, protective equipment will be acquired and distributed to funeral homes across the country – especially those in high casualty areas.
With FAA joining forces with #GetMePPE to facilitate this initiative, this is the first time that health care workers and death care workers are coming together to expand awareness of the shortage of PPE for both industries and to protect all front line workers.
“It is essential for the health care and death care industries to unify,” stated Dr. Hari P. Close II, CFSGM, National President of NFDMA and initiative Co-Founder. “Essentially, this is the first time that the death care industry has aligned with the medical industry to bring national attention to bridge the gap for ALL health care workers nationally, to provide the necessary protective equipment to help protect and save our dedicated professionals and colleagues’ lives.”
The Department of Homeland Security has designated Funeral Homes as “critical infrastructure” to provide them priority access to protective equipment, but the growing demand has not been met. With a broken supply chain of protective equipment such as hazmat suits, disposable body bags, goggles, gowns, biohazard disposal supplies, N95 masks, and gloves, death care workers are putting their lives at risk on a daily basis by continuing to assist families without having adequate protective gear and equipment.
“For so many in our community, funeral homes provide a sense of support and security in moments of great sorrow,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP. “We recognize the need for funeral homes to be a safe place for families to give their loved ones a proper burial. During these times, this task is made more difficult if they do not have the necessary personal protection equipment (PPE) to ensure the safekeeping of staff and patrons. We call on local and state governments to protect the sanctity of funeral homes by giving them access to protective equipment.”
As FEMA stockpiles of PPE dwindle, the ‘Last Responders Awareness Initiative’ in association with #GetUsPPE, will facilitate the collection and distribution of supplies to funeral homes throughout the United States.
To donate to the “Last Responders Initiative” visit supportful.com/lastresponderdonations if you are a funeral home in need of PPE please register at https://getusppe.org/request/ . You can also rally for support of the initiative by using the hashtag #GetMePPE on social media.