HANOVER, Va. (WWBT) - Some businesses are finding ways to contribute during this pandemic, including making personal protective equipment (PPE).
Extreme Audio in Mechanicsville has made hundreds of face shields - the type used by healthcare workers - and donated them to area hospitals.
So far, the shop has produced more than 400 face shields and handed out some to hospitals such as Henrico Doctors, St. Mary’s Hospital, Chippenham Hospital and VCU Medical Center, among others.
“We had no idea that it was this level of demand. Our first batch, we had just bought the materials ourselves and planned on making 150 of them, and we got requests for well more than 1,000," said owner Mike Bartells.
Bartells said he got the idea from industry Facebook groups and realized his shops had the materials and machinery needed.
“It’s a little bit of a second job. Thankfully, I have a phenomenal crew here that’s able to keep it down as far as everything going in the store. Naturally business has dipped off a little bit with everything going on, but I told them to basically just treat it like I’m not there – that way I can just focus on doing nothing but this," he said.
And all his extra work is being recognized and utilized by major healthcare facilities.
“This is extraordinary that Extreme Audio is doing this. It really helps,” said Diane Harmon with Westport Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. She was picking up five face shields on Monday.
“Extreme Audio went above and beyond,” said Katie Gibson, a registered nurse at VCU Medical Center. She says she initially got 10 face shields on Sunday, tested them out with the staff, and then came back for another 40 on Monday.
“[The face shields] are critical because they can be used for intubations and extubations, which are high-risk procedures for our providers," she added.
Bartells says that the toughest part of the process has been finding the materials, especially given the surge in requests, but they know how important it is right now.
“[Extreme Audio is in] an industry that people don’t have to have. We’re a luxury. So to be able to step in and produce something that makes a difference to someone else has been pretty great,” he added.
Bartell’s company has set up a crowdfunding page to help gather funds to buy materials for more face shields. He said his goal is to produce 1,500 of them.
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