Stories of Impact

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Hard Hats and Respirator Masks Sent to Hawaii

MSA Maui Donation 0001 03

Seven weeks after severe wildfires destroyed 2,200 buildings in West Maui, residents began returning to their charred homes to see if they had any possessions that survived the fires.   

For thousands of individuals in West Maui, recovery is on hold until the cleanup of debris from the August 8th disaster is finished, a task that could span more than a year.

The Washington Post reports that there may be as many as 700,000 tons of ash, concrete slabs and metal scraps that need to be removed—about half the amount of debris removed from the World Trade Center after 9/11.

The cleanup process is difficult for a couple of reasons. The town of Lahaina, which incurred the worst damage, is the former capital of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Any remaining artifacts of the town’s historical significance lay among the ashes—which may also contain lead, arsenic, asbestos and other toxins. Sifting through the debris will take time and care and also poses serious health risks.  

Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) has urged people returning to their properties in the Lahaina area to wear protective and tight-fitting respirator masks as a safeguard against toxins.

Brother’s Brother Foundation sent 11 pallets of hard hats and respirator face masks to the Maui Relief Storage Facility in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, as part of its ongoing response to the wildfires.

Opened by Hawaiʻi’s Lieutenant Governor, Sylvia Luke; the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement; the 30,000 square foot storage facility collects and sorts donations for wildfire victims. Makana o Ke Akua, an Oahu-based nonprofit organization, oversees warehouse operations and distributes the supplies to Maui residents when they are ready to receive them. 

BBF’s shipment contains more than 500 hard hats, 4,700 P100 respirator masks and 5,000 P100 respirator cartridges donated by MSA Safety. The value of the donation exceeds $150,000.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, P100 respirators filter 99.97% of airborne particles.

BBF’s previous shipments to Maui supplied on-the-ground partners with baby formula and hygiene kits to distribute to wildfire victims. The organization has also given grants to support the relief efforts of several Hawaiian nonprofits, including the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

The wildfires caused an estimated $5.5 billion in damage. At least 98 lives were taken.

To donate to BBF’s disaster response in Maui, visit our donation page. In the drop-down menu, select “USA – US Disaster Relief.”