As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spreads, personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages are being reported by medical professionals who are on the front lines caring for patients. In our industry, the N95-class respirator is regularly used by wood flooring installers and finishers to protect themselves from wood dust while on the job. Recently, these masks have been prominently featured in the headlines as a critical piece of gear needed at hospitals around the world.
3M, an NWFA member, is one of the largest manufacturers of N95 masks. The company states they have ramped up production of N95 masks to an annual rate of more than one billion per year, or nearly 100 million per month globally.
“This pandemic is affecting us all, and we are doing all we can to support public health and especially our first-responders and those impacted by this global health crisis. We are mobilizing all available resources and rapidly increasing output of critical supplies healthcare workers in the United States and around the world need to help protect their lives as they treat others,” Mike Roman, 3M chairman and chief executive officer said in a statement on the company’s website.
The NWFA has been hearing from members who have either already donated N95 masks to hospitals, or would like to do so. And, the NWFA recently donated its N95 masks to a local hospital in St. Louis. If you have supplies you can spare, and would like to donate them to healthcare workers, please check out the following resources:
Otherwise, consider visiting your local hospital’s website to see if and how they are accepting donations, or try calling them; just understand that it could be difficult to get through on the phone lines during such a busy time. Your state health department may also have additional information on coordinated efforts.
We want to hear about your experiences with donating N95 masks, so we can share with our readers what the wood flooring industry is doing to help the medical community protect themselves. Be sure to send updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.