COVID19 Mask Making
Help turn our LastBag factory into a Mask making factory!
Our Washington State sewing factory is sitting unused - closed (deemed “unessential”) because of the COVID19 crisis. We want to change that. With our facility and trained staff, we can help address the current overwhelming need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by converting our bag manufacturing business into a mask manufacturing business. We have the equipment, design expertise, and skilled technicians required to begin making masks immediately. All we need to begin is your financial support.
To learn more and become part of the action, go to eqpd - GoFundMe
Frequently Asked Questions about eqpd Mask Making
What’s going on at eqpd?
As of March 23, 2020, we had to close our factory per the Washington State government directive due to the COVID19 virus. However, we quickly realized we could be of service to our community by doing what we do best - building great, high-functioning products - now to assist in the battle against Coronavirus. We have launched a GoFundMe campaign to acquire the materials needed to transition from making our LastBags to making masks.
Why support eqpd in this effort?
You can help eqpd to be part of the solution, using our skills to help protect our families, neighbors, community & state. We are passionate about solving problems through design and local manufacturing. With your support, eqpd can continue in its role as a community leader, creating smart solutions for today and a better future.
Does eqpd have what is needed to make masks?
We have everything we need to quickly transition our operation to mask making. We have a 2,200 sq/ft manufacturing facility in Twisp, WA where we build hundreds of LastBags a day. We have the machines, manufacturing space, a skilled team, and the attention to detail required to manufacture masks needed to address the shortfall our medical community is facing. We just need the specific materials used to make the masks (fabrics, elastics etc.).
Is there a local mask shortage?
The mask shortage worldwide is well reported, and is hitting close to home:
“...the Providence St. Joseph hospital chain based in Washington, said it was only a matter of days before some of the system’s 51 hospitals and 800 clinics run out of personal protective equipment — a situation that imperils the nation’s ability to respond to a pandemic still in its early stages.”
- From ‘At War With No Ammo’: Doctors Say Shortage of Protective Gear Is Dire’, New York Times, March 19, 2020
The eqpd team is working with regional healthcare leaders and has confirmed the immediate, pressing demand for both surgical and N95 masks throughout Washington State. To address this crisis, we need all of our healthcare professionals to be ready with the appropriate tools to protect their health and the health of their patients. As equipment manufacturers, we feel obligated to respond to this alarming situation.
What will my donation do?
- Directly address the mask shortage facing Washington State health care workers. Get them the masks they need to stay healthy while caring for those with COVID-19.
- Create 2-ply cotton surgical mask kits for home assembly.
- Employ 5 people.
- Allow Twisp, the Methow Valley, and the North Central WA to be a leader in addressing the COVID19 crisis by taking action and providing solutions.
How much money do you need and when will the masks be ready?
Here’s the plan: First goal: 10,000 masks - Need $25,000
Part 1: Manufacturing
eqpd will manufacture 7,500 reusable cotton and non-woven surgical masks, start-to-finish, to donate to Okanogan County health providers and the partners listed below.
Part 2: Surgical Mask Kits
We will also cut and assemble 2,500 "Surgical Mask Kits" (precut fabric and elastic)to assist home volunteer sewers in the area. These kits can be ordered through Methow Valley PPE Sewers & Okanogan County Covid-19 crafters and sewers.
Part 3: Outreach
We seek to help our local community, but we have the capacity to help yours, too. If you are interested in getting masks for your hospital, healthcare workers or exposed/vulnerable individuals email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you in line for the next batch.
What will you do next?
The more funds we raise, the more we can accomplish. Our ability to convert and scale is very cost effective as we run with lean manufacturing standards allowing us to be nimble and quick. We are also qualified to make face shields and can do so if the support is there. We have one focus right now, and that’s to build the gear to protect our healthcare workers. Whatever that equipment might be, we are here to help make it!
Who else is involved?
For the past weeks, we have been meeting with non-profits, doctors, hospitals, Seattle sewing factories and the local Methow Valley sewing community to determine how to best support the PPE building effort. Using our Industrial network, including the Industrial Fabrics Association, we have started ordering the materials needed to make masks, as inventories are unpredictable as the world reacts.
We have put together a team of local experts to advise on this project. With new information surfacing every day, relying on our professional network is more important than ever.
Current Partners Include:
- Aero Methow
- Brewster Police
- Confluence Health
- Family Health Centers
- Fire District #6
- Jamie’s Place
- Methow Valley School District
- Mid Valley Hospital
- Okanogan County Jail
- Okanogan County Sheriff's office
- Pateros Brewster Community Resource Center
- Room One
- Ruby Slippers Farms
- Sawtooth Dental
- Three Rivers Hospital
- Twisp Police
How do I sign up to get the sew-at-home kits?
Please go to the Methow Valley PPE website to sign up. This is a group of volunteers who are coordinating the distribution of the sew-at-home kits.
Why support local manufacturing?
The obvious answer is local jobs (see above for details on that). However, we have always known that local manufacturing is important - for reasons beyond money. When we started eqpd I knew we would be “useful”. Not just for the products we make and money we generate - but for the things we represent and help to accomplish. We’ve hosted high school interns and Fix-Your-Gear Nights; we’ve delivered TedX talks; we’ve nurtured a spirit of creativity and the pride of making good things in your town. We want to continue to create smart solutions our community can be proud of, now more than ever. Our skills are needed for a new challenge - one eqpd is well positioned to face with your help.