These reusable N95-style face masks will be distributed free of charge to those who have disabilities during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Whirlwind Wheelchair International is implementing a project for the immediate acquisition and refurbishment of 15,000 new, unused, but expired N95 masks from the federal emergency stockpile, which are now in the Contra Costa County warehouse. These masks are being distributed through our network of local disability organizations, directly to individuals with disabilities in need of respiratory protection.
We have enlisted the help of The Center for Independent Living and Easy Does It, to distribute personal protective face masks to persons with disabilities living in Contra Costa County and Alameda County, who do not have access to such equipment.
Whirlwind volunteer Salam Hassan, has designed and tested a new strap and clip system, to replace the deteriorated elastic straps on the stockpiled masks, making them fully functional, reliable and comfortable to wear. Salam is volunteering the use of two 3-D printers at his home in Concord to produce the custom clips. This self-made solution has made it possible to re-use the same straps with multiple face masks over time, greatly expanding the utility and lifespan of the donated equipment.
Supervisors John Gioia and Federal Glover, of The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, have approved our request to receive the stockpile N95 masks, to be repaired and distributed by our partner organizations.
After receiving the stockpiled face masks, our volunteers are now 3-D printing plastic clips for the replacement straps, and our volunteers will safely assemble Ziploc bags for distribution. The 15,000 masks will be divided into Ziploc bags, each containing 10 masks, 2 elastic bands, 2 plastic clips, and detailed instructions for the user.
The partner organizations will take responsibility for distributing the prepared packages to those persons with disabilities who have the most need. An additional 2,000 face masks will be made available, for delivery directly to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors offices for distribution to official staff and persons with disabilities. After we are successful with our first distribution, we will inquire again if there is sufficient supply for another donation of 10,000 face masks.
If you would like to help Whirlwind to maintain this effort of distributing crucial protective masks to help persons with disabilities keep safe and healthy as they move in our communities, please consider making a donation.
PLEASE NOTE: although the filtration system on these masks is rated at an N95 level, because of the strap modifications, the masks are no longer certified as N95, and should only be used in settings where a simple face covering or mouth/nose mask is acceptable. They are not a replacement for medical equipment in a professional setting.