PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Frontline workers in public health asked for innovation in mask design and they’re getting just that. Reusable Respirators LLC is a Panama City company working to make this new design.
“Doing research on existing respiratory protection. We knew that shortages of N-95 respirators were likely to occur during a pandemic and we just looked at ways to mitigate that,” Reusable Respirators LLC Project Manager Del Harnish said.
Following years of research, they now needed approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which Harnish says is a government agency that regulates the use of respirators.
“Our parts and components of our respirators have to go through a series of inspections and several different stages to make sure that we’re putting a quality product on the market,” Harnish said.
A market aimed at giving those in the health community a breath of fresh air.
“What they’re currently or have been using are the single-use devices. This gives them a tool to keep on hand, reuse, and be able to clean effectively, simply wiping it down; it’s got all the smooth surfaces on it. I think it’s a big advantage,” Harnish said.
There are more advantages to this new mask too.
“The barcode is a really unique aspect of our device. It’s not found on any other respirator that we know of, and it really allows users to be able to track inventory and track what respirator goes with what person,” Harnish said.
Who will be the first to use these respirators?
“Certainly leveraging the local hospitals, getting their feedback on the device and just making sure that they get the first glimpses of what we’re bringing to the market,” Harnish said.
A market reaching customers on a global scale.
“It can really address the needs of different countries around the world that are having similar issues and have been using the same types of devices we’ve already been using,” Harnish said.
Even though there are spikes and lulls in the pandemic, Harnish says, “We don’t know what’s gonna happen next with the future pandemic, so preparation is key.”
With thousands of masks needing a quality check before use, Harnish says more job opportunities will come to the people of Bay County. By this summer, they are projecting to have thousands of these masks ready for use.
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