American innovation, entrepreneurship, and the helping spirit are all alive and well! As shutdowns, hoarding, and shortages continue across the country many often maligned companies are stepping up relief efforts to make a difference and fill the gaps. These businesses, along with others, are revamping their production methods and making donations to help protect medical professionals, keep us safe, and keep our shelves restocked.
Federal Ammunition, Others Donate Masks
Federal Ammunition recently announced they have allocated cases of N95 masks from their inventory for healthcare professionals in light of the nationwide shortage. This shortage puts medical professionals at risk, which puts us all at risk. Ammunition companies like Federal use the masks to protect their employees from the lead particles released during bullet manufacturing. These masks have come into short supply as frightened citizens bought them up in the early days of the outbreak. The companies that make these masks are working to increase production, but until then others are stepping up to help.
Other companies making donations of masks include:
Apple – 9 million masks
Goldman Sachs – 100 thousand masks
Facebook – 720 thousand masks
Tesla – 250 thousand masks
Beyond the large companies making donations, smaller companies across the US have stepped up to donate as well. After Vice President Mike Pence requested construction companies consider donating the coveted N95 masks many have responded. Thousands of life saving masks have gotten to medical professionals thanks to the generosity of companies of all sizes.
Ranges Remain Open to Police for Training
While the debate rages about whether the retail part of gun stores are essential or not, a large percentage indoor gun ranges have closed. The way they are configured is not conducive to the 6ft social distancing recommendations and many have less than stellar HVAC systems. With the weather still cold and damp across much of the country, few outdoor ranges have opened up yet. This creates a training issue for some law enforcement and private security firms that depend on practice sessions at local ranges.
This need for ongoing training has led to many of these ranges allowing use for these essential groups. Despite the lack of income from regular shooters these ranges are opening their bays to police and security groups. The filters will still need to be cleaned and/or replaced, staff will still be needed to man them, and electricity will still be used to run them. So while these groups often pay a fee to use the facility, much of the cost will be absorbed by the ranges themselves.
Distillers and Brewers Making Hand Sanitizer
Kansas City based J. Rieger & Co. was one of the first distillers to start making hand sanitizer at their facility. The are repurposing their overproof gin to make an all-natural disinfectant. The gin is 70% alcohol by volume, so well over the 60% needed to be effective. The company briefly offered online ordering for the public with local pick up, but their focus is meeting the needs of first responders and medical professionals.
The Molson Coors Beverage Company is making hand sanitizer at all six of their craft brewing locations. The maker of Coors Beer is using their own materials and equipment to produce the sanitizer along with other brewers. Craft brewing company Leinenkugal’s has committed to giving 165 barrels of bulk beer to the Chippewa River Distillery in Wisconsin for use in hand sanitizer production.
Anheuser-Bush Aid Goes Beyond Hand Sanitizer
Budweiser maker Anheuser-Bush is addressing the coronavirus related shortages on multiple fronts. Like other brewers and distillers, they are using their facilities and supplies to make much needed hand sanitizer. The company also has a long-standing program to switch to water canning in times of need. Since it began in 1988, the program has supplied close to 83 million cans of water during time of crisis and natural disaster. The St. Louis based company has also begun working with the sports partners to identify vacant stadiums and arenas that could be utilized as temporary blood donation facilities. The sizes of these facilities would allow for social distancing while still addressing the need to replenish the blood supply.
Nationwide brewers, distillers, and wineries of all sizes are altering their production methods to help address the county’s shortage of hand sanitizers. There are too many to list here, but make sure you check online and see who in your area is stepping up and helping out. Then, when things start to return to normal, make sure you support them as a thanks.
Ford, 3M, and Others Make Respirators / Face Shields
The Dyson Company, best known for their vacuum cleaners, has designed an entirely new ventilator. The new ventilator is meant to address the specific issues faced by coronavirus patients. The CoVent was designed in just 10 days after Dyson received a request for aid from the UK Prime Minister. James Dyson, company founder, reports the new ventilator can be manufactured in high volumes at a quick and efficient pace. The company states the ventilators can be ready by early April and they plan to donate 5,000 units internationally.
Ford Motor Company Steps Up Big
Dearborn, MI based Ford Motor company has announced they will be partnering with 3M to start manufacturing air-purifying respirators. The two companies are working together to engineer the respirators using existing parts and facilities. Both companies are exploring using parts from F-150 pickup, such as cooling fans, and 3M's HEPA air filters. Ford is also working with GE Healthcare in an effort to expand that company’s existing ventilator production.
Ford also announced that UAW will partner with them to manufacture over 100,000 plastic face shields used by medical professionals and first responders. They also plan to utilize their 3D printers to make disposable respirators.
Other companies are stepping up to help with protective shield production as well. The Bauer company in Blainville, Quebec normally makes hockey gear. With the hockey season on hold, they have begun making protective shields for medical personnel and first responders instead.
General Motors recently announced they will be working with Ventec Life Systems to increase their productions of ventilators. While GM is not currently planning to manufacture any themselves, they are offering purchasing, logistics, and manufacturing experience to Ventec.
We’re in This Together
Times like these are never easy. But maybe we can come out the other side a little wiser and a little more compassionate for others. The political decisiveness of the recent past has been replaced by a realization that we are all in this together. We need the companies born of capitalism and we need the support of each other if we want to come through this pandemic relatively unscathed. So while you thank the tireless efforts of medical professionals, transportation workers, store clerks, and all the other essential individuals keeping our country going, don’t forget to thank the companies doing their part to support them.