SUFFOLK, Va. - There is currently a nationwide shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for first responders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Suffolk Police and Suffolk Fire Crews asked the community to help assist in donations of PPE.
Captain Ray Willet, with the EMS Bureau of Suffolk Fire & Rescue, partnered with Suffolk Public Library Director Clint Rudy and Library Manager Kendra Hawkins to use the Suffolk library 3D printer to print face shield headbands for healthcare workers.
Library staff printed the part that goes around the head and on the bottom of the shield. Captain Willet handled the face shield part by using laminator sheets and the strap on the back by using Velcro.
Suffolk Fire & Rescue personnel will be assembling the masks and begin distributing them to Departmental apparatus for use in the field. The goal is to create 200 face shields to get ahead of usage demands.
"I’m thankful that Clint and Kendra were able to step up and help us out with this idea. I had no expectation with my initial request. However, since I have been communicating with them, Clint has told me that they are now purchasing more printers to use for this project in order to ramp up production,” Captain Willet said.
The safety of patients and Suffolk Fire & Rescue personnel are both being closely monitored.
Suffolk Fire & Rescue personnel say they may increase their level of PPE to include a gown, gloves, and eye protection.
To donate unused PPE, items can be dropped off, by appointment only, at Suffolk Fire & Rescue Station.
Captain Ratliff is the point of contact for donations and can be reached by phone at 757-514-4544.