SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with the Sweetwater County COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center, has announce that has started manufacturing respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE) for its employees and other emergency first responders.
The measure is in response to the nationwide and local shortage of PPE as a result of the global COVID-19 crisis.
“In reaction to the overwhelming lack of readily accessible PPE across the world, we are now using our recently acquired ‘Raise3D Pro2’ 3D printer to produce N95 masks using a template created by Montana neurosurgeon, Dr. Rusty Richardson, dentist, Dr. Spencer Zaugg and Dr. Zaugg’s Son, Colton,” said Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Joe Tomich.
Tomich continued, “the trio has graciously made the template and instructions for assembly available free of charge so that anyone with a 3D printer can make the masks with only a few commercially available parts needed to complete them.”
While not yet certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or the Food and Drug Administration, research suggests these masks offer an equivalent and reasonable alternative to the now scarce N95 masks.
The masks cost approximately $2.50 apiece to print. They will enable emergency first responders in Sweetwater County to safely do their jobs even if proper PPE is unavailable, and are even reusable when properly sanitized between uses.
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office currently has the ability to print three masks per day, but has also identified several other printers that are available for use throughout Sweetwater County and intends to begin production using all of these available 3D printers in the coming days.
For more information about the masks, and the behind-the-scenes grassroots project aimed to get this critical equipment to our nation’s emergency first responders during this time of crisis, please visit http://www.makethemasks.com.