As shortages of personal protective equipment place healthcare workers at a higher risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus, two companies in the gun industry are stepping up to ensure the medical community is protected.
Blue Alpha Gear and Cole-Tac announced Monday that the two would join forces, in what is being termed Operation Face Mask, to manufacture masks for medical professionals currently fighting the Coronavirus. Dustin Coleman, president and owner of Cole-Tac, told Guns.com in a message that hearing about the shortage of supplies spurred him to take action.
“I kept hearing on the news about the shortage of medical supplies. We have some awesome equipment and even more awesome people that, with some tweaks, could produce the supplies needed,” Coleman explained. “My mindset is ‘adapt or die.’ We can all just sit at home and have the healthcare workers try to battle this alone or we can get creative and find ways to help.”
Though the face masks are not considered PPE, they do fall under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidelines encouraging homemade masks when proper PPE is not available. The companies said the masks will be made in the U.S. in Cole-Tac and Blue Alpha Gear’s factories by their employees.
“The hospital workers and first responders should not be at home trying to make their own gear. That is a waste of their time,” Coleman said. “They need to be treating patients and focusing on their job.”
Each mask costs around $5 to manufacture and, as such, a GoFundMe has been set-up to help offset costs. The companies said the goal is to ultimately produce 10,000 masks and to do so would require funds around $50,000. At the time of publishing the GoFundMe had raised just over $3,000.
Blue Alpha Gear’s Kurt Sills told Guns.com in a message that it’s important to support the men and women on the front lines of this illness.
“In time of great need, medical professional and first responders step up to help us, we’re happy to have the ability to help them back!”
For more information or to donate to the cause, head over to the Operation Face Mask GoFundMe.