PROVO – It all started in Billings, Montana where Dr. Dusty Richardson created a blueprint for 3-D protective masks and giving the blueprint away for free.
Now, the Provo Fire Department has a limited supply of N-95 filters on hand. They saw Dr. Richardson’s post and knew they could cut up one N-95 Respirator filter into 5-smaller filters to fit inside those plastic 3-D masks.
Provo police Lt. Nisha King said that’s when they were approached by the fire department. The police department has a 3-D printer used to print plastic knives and ordinances for training purposes.
King said the Fire chief agreed to donate some of their N-95 respirators if Provo police printed the masks. But, it takes two-and-a-half hours to 3-D print one mask and they have 115-officers to protect. So, the call went out of Facebook asking anyone with a 3-D printer to help them out.
Both Provo City Police and Fire Departments want to get enough masks to provide protection from COVID-19 to all police in Utah County. That’s a total of 550-officers from all the cities and university police departments. And that will take a lot more resources.
Provo police posted a picture of some gold and silver masks donated by Brett Wells. Wells thanked everyone who donated money to help him buy plastic to print the 3-D masks.
Since the call went out on March 27th, Lt. Kings said over 2-dozen masks arrived at the Provo City Police station. But, they’re hoping for more. The Provo Fire Department is working on getting more N-95 filters. Police are sterilizing the masks when they are dropped off at a designated location at the police station.
Kings said the police department wants to thank everyone willing to donate and help in a crisis. She said it shows how well the community, both near and far, can come together.