As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, people on the frontlines are facing a shortage of personal protective equipment like face shields. The Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad (UFCRS) in Titusville and the Hopewell Valley Regional School District (HVRSD) are cooperating to help.
Mike Sullivan is a firefighter and the First Vice President of the UFCRS. He also is a practical arts teacher (wood working, engineering) at Hopewell Valley Central High School. Sullivan got a call recently from Josh Wilson of Hopewell Valley Emergency Services to ask whether there were face shields available at the high school that could be donated to the EMS. Wilson also mentioned that he had been hearing about using 3D printing to make face shields.
At the same time, HVRSD administration had been getting calls about using 3D printers that the school owns. Sullivan was able to get in touch with someone who already was printing face shields, who sent him the project files used by 3D printers. The school district approved Sullivan to take printers from the schools for use by the UFCRS. The District also donated the filament that is used, enough to make about 3000 shields.
Initially, Sullivan took four printers from Central High School and Timberlane Middle School over to the firehouse and on Monday, he picked up more from the elementary schools. Now all 12 HVRSD 3D printers are at the firehouse being used to make these essential masks. Each print run takes about 2-1/2 hours to complete and each printer produces two at one time. The printers have been running all day, making 24 face shields every 2 1/2 hours.
Originally, the shields were intended only for the use of Hopewell Valley EMS and fire company ambulance squad. But then UFCRS was put in touch with Capital Health and they have now produced some for the hospital’s use as well. The UFCRS also donated 30 shields to the Hopewell Township Police Department.
Sullivan noted all of the organizations that have worked together on this project: Hopewell Valley Emergency Services, the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation (which donated the printers to the schools) and UFCRS. He said ‘I’m really proud that the different government agencies were able to coordinate to get this project off the ground”
The UFCRS Facebook stated yesterday: “We like to call this government efficiency at its finest. As of this morning 4/7/2020, we have over 200 shield frames of which we have a symbolic 153 Red, White, & Blue ones. If anyone would like to support this project, we are looking for donations of 3mm diameter PETG filament on 1kg spools. You can also make a monetary donation to UFCRS.”