As is well known, we are facing the continued spread of COVID-19. As information has come available, many conversations have occurred on how to slow the spread of COVID-19, and what could be done to help protect our front line workers who are face to face with the potentially infected members of our community. Most communities will admit that they waited too long to prepare for and address the concerns. We have begun addressing the issue and are hoping to lessen the impact on our community with your help.
WHO WE ARE
I am a first responder, and my wife is an occupational therapist. We are graduates from Wichita State University and Kansas University Medical School. Most of our friends are first responders, engineers, or work in the medical field. After reading about the lack of Personal Protective Equipment and having a few discussions on how to keep ourselves safe while still helping our community, I decided there was more that could be done. So, I called a few friends and told them about my ideas. After receiving a lot of positive feedback, and every one people asking how they could help, I started to form a small group to help tackle the PPE problems. With that in mind, this is not my project. This is a Community Effort to tackle a Community Problem.
So, WE, are a collective of First Responders, Health Care Professionals, Educators, Engineers, and volunteers. We are community members who have banded together to come up with solutions to combat the shortage of personal protective equipment.
After testing several designs and hearing feedback from end-users, we have come up with a face shield design that can be rapidly produced, distributed, and easily sanitized for reuse. We have taken some of the open-source options available on the market and fine-tuned the designs to increase durability and comfort.
This project will be rolled out in phases, each dependant upon donation goals and stretch donation goals:
-Phase one is the production and free distribution of Face Shields. We are already producing these shields but need to ramp up production to meet the ever-growing demand. Our initial goal is 1000 Face Shields. After we reach our goal, we will assess if additional shields are needed or if we need to shift all efforts to face masks and decontamination cases.
- Phase two will be to complete the testing of reusable face masks that will allow the swapping of N95 filters. The goal with phase two is to effectively double the supply of N95 masks by cutting N95 masks in half, turning them into filters for 3D printed masks. We have much work to do on the mask design to ensure the wearer is getting enough airflow through the air filtration pieces, the fits are proper and universal enough for mass distribution, and we have to ensure the entire mask can be properly decontaminated with a reasonable amount of effort. Details to come after testing.
- Phase three is to find a method to build decontamination systems that can be used to sanitize face shields and masks in bulk for health care professionals. Once we can verify results, we will purchase materials, build these systems, and deliver them locally at no cost while releasing the plans online for free.
How will the funds be used?
All funds will go directly towards the manufacture and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Initial production will be completed by 3D printing, laser cutting and water jet cutting of materials. As progress moves forward, we will explore methods to allow more rapid production of the needed equipment by using local companies to help with production. Wichita State University and other private entities have generously offered the use of their 3D printers, enabling the funds to go towards the purchase of much-needed material such as filaments, elastic, and sanitizing supplies. Once we are at full production of Face Shields we will begin work on additional PPE.
We will expand production in increments as funding allows.
We are starting with 18 printers but plan to add to this number in the near future. If we raise enough money, we hope to expand our equipment donations outside of our immediate area.
How are you manufacturing the face shields?
We are fortunate to have access to the 3D printers at Wichita Statue University and several private entities (additional resources are always welcome). We are working around the clock to print the components for face shields. Once the components have been printed and checked for quality control, our team of volunteers will assemble the face shields by hand, sanitize the finished product, and prep them for delivery.
How are you distributing the face shields?
We will hand-deliver the face shields to frontline healthcare and public safety workers. We will ensure that they are used as protective gear to keep our community members safe.
Do the face shields interfere with the wearing of N95 masks?
No, these face shields are designed to allow for proper wearing of the N95 face masks in addition to the face shield adding to the protection of the wearer.
You’ve seen other charity efforts related to COVID-19. How is this one different?
We are addressing the issues right here in our own back yard. We will donate equipment directly to our local Frist Responder and Medical Staff.
We understand that we have to keep our Public Health and Safety programs operational so we can continue to serve and help those in need. Once we have addressed the problems here locally, we will then donate equipment to other Public Health and Safety Programs farther from home.
What happens to any equipment purchased after this pandemic is under control?
Once the dust settles and everything returns to normal, any equipment and material purchases made to product PPE gear will be donated to local High Schools, University, or Medical Teaching facilities in the local area.
Are donations tax deductible?
Currently, donations are NOT tax-deductible. If you know of a 501(c)3 charity in this space that would like to sponsor our effort, we would love to partner with them.
- Laura Woodruff
- Grant Phipps
- Jonathan Young
- Patrick Rippey
Fundraising team: Community Action Team (2)
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