Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A WATERFORD company has stepped up to the mark in the protective face masks shortage by pledging to supply 5,000 free masks produced in-house to nursing homes and healthcare organisations in the South East.

In response to the crisis Apparel Supply Solutions – Azzurri Sport has developed a washable, re-usable protective face-mask to assist in the protection of healthcare workers against Covid-19.

Speaking to the Waterford News & Star, John Molloy said Azzurri Sport is supplying the initial batch for free to support the cause. They are also providing the material and staff have offered their time for free also.

“The quantity of 5,000 is based on available material, short term capacity and on the material cost, which is very expensive. These are re-usable, so we hope these will protect 5,000 persons presently, who are without any certified masks.

“We have also received support of local businesses in gearing up cutting and tooling for these, including from Ray Sheridan, Sheridan Signs, and Niall Griffin, Metalman Engineering,” Mr Molloy said.

Based in Kilcohan, the company has been producing Emergency Service Complex PPE for over 25 years, which includes EN469 Fire Fighting Suits to Fire Services such as Waterford and Cork, along with FR and Arc Protective clothing for ESB and other electrical service providers.

John hopes there will not be an ongoing demand and sufficient certified face masks will be made available. “If not, we will try to continue support. Fabric cost etc. is very high so, if there is continued need or demand, we will do these at cost price only. In the meantime, we have forwarded our specifications to Health Body for an opinion on the material certification and proposed mask design.”

They are an ISO certified company and Certified to Product Monitoring -Module D, both of which are required by manufacturers of complex PPE.

They are not initially supplying hospitals as they don’t have the volumes to make any real impact. “We are supplying to smaller pockets, where there is a need, such as nursing homes, smaller regional health services and in some cases individuals at risk, such as cystic fibrosis patients,” John explained.

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