ESO Data Show Unsustainable Use of N95 Respirators for Emergency Medical Services During COVID-19 Outbreak

Company supports guidance to use surgical masks in lower risk situations to preserve N95 respirators

March 23, 2020 – AUSTIN, TexasESO, a data and software company serving emergency medical services (EMS), fire departments and hospitals, has been monitoring its dataset in relation to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – specifically N95 respirators – in use by EMS providers and responders during the COVID-19 outbreak. The current use shows ESO customers are using N95 respirators at the rate of more than 9,000 a day on approximately 25,000 daily 9-1-1 calls, putting customers on pace to use more than one million N95 respirators in the next three months.

“The current trend of using N95 respirators indicates an unsustainable trajectory,” said Dr. Brent Myers, Chief Medical Officer for ESO. “We encourage organizations to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines in relation to the use of surgical masks versus N95 respirators unless performing invasive, aerosol- generating procedures or participating in other high-risk situations. We anticipate an increase in the number of cases over the coming days and weeks, and we want to ensure the health and safety of our front-line providers and responders by recommending a course of action that will preserve N95 respirators for situations most likely to require use of this equipment. Just as is common with other conditions encountered by Fire and EMS, the level of PPE should be proportional to the risk associated with the particular situation.”

Click here to see the WHO document related to the use of masks and other PPE and here for the March 10, 2020 CDC guidance.

“We will continue to analyze these data daily and monitor trends associated with the use of PPE to do our small part to help our customers and the industry hopefully stay ahead of the curve,” added Dr. Myers. “At this time, we feel it is necessary to share as much data and information as we can to identify trends that will help EMS and fire departments manage the outbreak in their communities.”

ESO recently launched a COVID-19 Resource Center with key data elements updated on a daily basis to help keep the industry informed, including:

  • 911 records with COVID-19 EMS provider impressions by response type
  • Documented Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use among all 9-1-1 records
  • Disposition of 9-1-1 patients with COVID-19 EMS provider impressions
  • Age distribution of 9-1-1 patients with COVID-19 EMS impressions
  • Airway interventions among 9-1-1 patients with COVID-19 EMS provider impressions
  • Medications by category among 9-1-1 Patients with COVID-19 EMS provider impressions

The data for the Resource Center comes from the ESO database consisting of more than 2,600 EMS agencies across the United States. 

Visit the COVID-19 Resource Center here.

About ESO

ESO is dedicated to improving community health and safety through the power of data. Since its founding in 2004, the company continues to pioneer innovative, user-friendly software to meet the changing needs of today’s EMS agencies, fire departments, and hospitals. ESO currently serves thousands of customers throughout North America with a broad software portfolio, including the industry-leading ESO Electronic Health Record (EHR), the next generation ePCR; ESO Health Data Exchange (HDE), the first-of-its-kind healthcare interoperability platform; ESO Fire and ESO FIREHOUSE Software for fire departments; and ambulance revenue recovery/billing software. ESO is headquartered in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit


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Andy Prince

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