Bridging the Gap in PPE

We’ve been hearing from healthcare providers across the country that they are running low or even out of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), including the N95-rated  masks that they need to prevent getting infected with the SARS-COV-2 (the virus) that causes Covid-19 (the disease). 

While fresh supplies may be imminent, the reality on the frontlines is that there is a severe shortage of N95 masks.  

ChooseFI has put together this resource to:

  • help healthcare facilities procure N95 masks by reaching out to potential donors of PPE
  • give the public a way to make viable alternatives, thereby allowing them to donate their own stash of N95 masks and/or refrain from buying any new ones.
This page was hastily built to meet an urgent need – apologies for it being rough around the edges.

Potential Sources of Donations for Healthcare Facilities

If you are a healthcare worker or administrator at a healthcare facility, you may be able to request donations of N95 masks from the following organizations:

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Restrictions have APPARENTLY been eased so that construction masks are now allowed to be used in healthcare settings. Unions such as the IBEW may have existing supplies on hand.
http://www.ibew.org/

Project N95

Rapid response team coordinating with manufacturers globally with the capacity to produce PPEs. Within weeks, millions of units of PPE should be available for distribution. https://www.projectn95.com/

Habitat for Humanity

There have been reports that some Habitat for Humanity organizations have donated their supplies of N95 masks to local hospitals. Contact Habitat for Humanity to inquire if there is any close to your facility, that has supplies on hand. https://www.habitat.org/

Harbor Freight

Harbor Freight is donating its inventory of PPE to healthcare facilities. https://www.harborfreight.com/

Local Churches

Some local churches may have supplies of N95 masks on hand, such as for youth mission trips. Contact your local church or place of worship.

Construction Companies

Construction workers and companies may also have N95 masks. Contact local companies in your area for donations.

Tattoo Parlors

Some in our community have reported that owners of tattoo parlors may have stock of industrial-grade N95 masks.

Other Resources To Procure/Create PPEs

WARNING: Many of these alternatives are stopgap measures and have not been certified by the relevant authorities. They are provided as a resource here on the assumption that N95 masks are not immediately available, and that an alternative is better than none.

Purchase from alternate sources

Any construction and industrial supply, woodworking stores, anywhere that sells fiberglass insulation, hazmat, etc MAY still have both the construction rated 3M and Milwaukee tool N95 and above masks.

3D Printed masks

If you have a 3D printer or know a 3D printer hobbyist in your area, you can manufacture your own N95-like masks. Details, including links to different designs and filtering material, on this page.

DIY For Hospitals

Hospitals that have additional supplies such as anesthesia facemasks for patients can convert these into N95 stopgap masks as a stopgap. This video from Boston Children's Hospital shows how.

DIY for Home Use (no Sewing needed)

If you have extra N95 masks on hand, please consider donating them. If you do not, please do not compete for the limited supply with the healthcare organizations and healthcare workers. Instead, consider making your own for the home. This video shows how.

Free Donor-Recipient Mask Matching Service

If you have some masks to donate, or, if you are a healthcare worker looking for a donor, this peer-to-peer matching service may be able to pair a donor with a recipient within a locality.

Sew Alternative Masks

A significant movement is underway in hackerspaces, makerspaces, and sewing groups to come together and solve a problem to save lives at risk with the Coronavirus. This article describes some ways help.

Donation from Jo-Ann Stores

We have been told that Jo-Ann Stores is giving away free fabric and elastic cut out to size to anyone who can sew non-N95 masks, then collect and send the masks to hospitals.