GREEN BAY, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) — Just a few months ago the word “N95” was confined to businesses and speciality applications using the mask.

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, “N95” and “mask” have become a part of the daily lexicon of many Americans.

For first responders and healthcare professionals, the mask is one of the most sought after pieces of personal protective equipment. Governors and mayors are working to the get them from the federal government while grassroots equipment drives are soliciting donations from the community.

“The N95 masks have been the biggest hangup for us,” said Officer Jerry Young of the Green Bay Police Department. “Yesterday I was searching businesses trying to find (them). We actually found one of the paint and auto body suppliers in the city had 20 masks that we were able to get from them.”

A number of fire, police and medical services around the state say they generally have the protective equipment they need for now. There are some pieces of gear — like the N95 mask and in one case, hand sanitizer — that are still in short supply and high demand.

“Right now our focus in on trying to make sure every officer that is responding to calls for service is equipped with at least one N95 mask and a pair of safety glasses,” said Lt. Brad Strouf of the Green Bay Police Department. “We have full face shields available, though we don’t have one per officer.”

A recent report from the united states conference of mayors found 92 percent of the 213 communities surveyed said they don’t have an adequate supply of face masks. Eighty eight percent said they don’t have enough personal protective gear for first responders.

Gov. Tony Evers reported Tuesday that Wisconsin received more than 100,000 N95 respirators; 260,000 face masks and almost 50,000 protective face shields from the Strategic National Stockpile. The state is continuing to work get more supplies - including testing — and equipment from the federal government ahead of what is expected to be a surge of coronavirus cases.

In Milwaukee County, agencies are working together to ensure those in the field have what they need to safely handle emergency calls.

“All of our county partners have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure their firefighters are really protected when they go in on-scene so they don’t get sick,” said Lt. Michael Ball of the Milwaukee Fire Department.

The pandemic is posing new challenges to first responders — but they are looking for ways around those hurdles.

“I don’t think any of us in our lifetime have ever experienced anything quite like this,” Strouf said.  “We’re learning as we go. We’re trying to stay ahead of this thing.” ​