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With the recent bushfire crisis attracting attention from around the world, Surf Life Saving NSW has been the recipient of an incredibly generous donation of around 40,000 particulate face masks.

U.S humanitarian health organisation, Direct Relief, heard of the plight of those fighting fires and the many more volunteers on the frontline of the disaster relief effort and immediately airfreighted pallets of the N95/P2 face masks to Australia thanks to the generous support of Qantas.

Direct Relief maintains the largest charitable stockpile of particulate masks in the U.S. and the CEO and President Thomas Tighe said the news of the fires in Australia really resonated with the organisation.

"As an organisation based in California, which in recent years has seen some of the worst fires in its history, we empathise with what Australians are going through. We also appreciate the unparalleled scale of the fires now burning across the continent and how the combined acreage of California's 10 largest fires amounts to less than half of the total acres burned this summer in Australia. We’re happy to help in any way we can,” said Thomas Tighe.

Deputy President John Restuccia and Dan Gaffney from Australian Lifeguard Services accept on behalf of SLSNSW, the first quantities of donated face masks from humanitarian organisation Direct Relief with Emergency Response Specialist Chris Alleway. Supplies of the masks will be distributed to surf clubs and branches for use by volunteers and first responders and to local communities in fire affected areas.

With fires and thick smoke widespread throughout the state’s mid-north and south-east since November, supplies of equipment including face masks have been seriously depleted. Volunteer surf lifesavers working within the community on recovery and clean-up operations have been exposed to particulates in the air for some time.

President of Surf Life Saving NSW, George Shales, thanked Direct Relief for the much needed donated supplies.

“This is an incredibly generous and practical act of support from an amazing organisation and these supplies will be put to good use by surf clubs, lifeguards and community organisations in fire-affected areas and in future emergency situations,” said George Shales.

Direct Relief has so far delivered more than 430,000 face masks to community organisations and health authorities in Australia. The masks which have been donated to Surf Life Saving NSW will be distributed to clubs and branches and lifeguard services throughout the state to replenish stocks and for community use in fire affected areas or for future environmental or health emergencies.

About Direct Relief 

A humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need—without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. For more information, please visit


Monday 10 February 2020