April 20, 2020

Department of Public Safety and vendor resolve KN95 mask issue after vendor refunds state funds

Missouri Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten announces the Department of Public Safety and a vendor supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) to the state today resolved the issue of almost 4 million KN95 respirator masks ordered by the State Emergency Management Agency.

Karsten said the vendor offered a refund to the state and is continuing to assist in the state’s efforts to obtain much needed PPE. The state received the refund this afternoon. 

The resolution comes after a series of communications between Karsten and SEMA Acting Director James Remillard and the vendor. During those talks, it became clear the vendor was not opposed to refunding a deposit paid by the state.

Speaking about the KN95 masks, Karsten said, “The vendor delivered a product that performed to specifications but did not fit the way we expected them to. The vendor remains committed to assisting the state in obtaining much needed PPE at this critical time. We share this commitment to providing PPE to our first responders and medical personnel, who are on the frontline in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.” 

On April 13, Karsten announced SEMA was concerned about the performance in “fit” tests of KN95 respirator masks SEMA received from two vendors. SEMA recalled 48,000 KN95 masks it received from a separate vendor and had shipped to Missouri first responders. At that time, Karsten said the state was canceling respirator orders it had placed with a total of three vendors. Today’s agreement means the state had amicably resolved the mask issue and has received refunds from all vendors that received state funds. It continues to conduct business with each of the vendors.


Director Karsten said the state is no longer purchasing KN95 masks.


For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail