A New Iberia family business is keeping their doors open to help those battling COVID-19 on the front lines. Action Specialties has partnered with Lafayette General Hospital to help them protect their N95 masks.
With a nationwide shortage of masks, workers at Action Specialties are using their equipment and sewing machines to help fill that void. They normally produce industrial uniforms, signs, banners and more. However, they're now fulfilling a different need.
"We're making masks for Lafayette General Hospital," Michael Lipari with Action Specialties said. "They're supplying us with material. Sterilized sheet that we're able to cut in an 8-inch-by-8-inch squares." The material is normally used to wrap medical equipment and keep them sterilized.
However, it's now been transformed into masks. The idea came from Lafayette General Hospital. They reached out to Action Specialties for help and the business had to get creative.
"We made our own straps out a vinyl material, " Lipari said. "We couldn't find elastic or any kind of material to make the straps. So we're cutting it out of our own material."
He added, "The first day we started at 150 masks. We worked up to 800. Now we're producing1600 and hopefully we can produce 3000 any day now."
The masks are not only a way to help the hospital, but a way to help Action Specialties keep their doors open.
"The Monday when the Governor kind of shut everything down , we had to send all our workers home," Lipari said. "Now with this, we're able to bring some production in. We have limited people, but we have to try and keep them all spread out in different warehouses. We're putting together a lot of masks and we're able to do a lot of orders."
He added, "We committed to a certain amount for the hospital. Now we're able to buy the material from a supplier and we're trying to take orders right now from our regular customers."
The masks are being used as a protective barrier to cover healthcare worker's N95 masks. It's a way to help them keep their N95 masks for multiple uses.
"We're just trying to do a small part to help out with everybody," Lipari said. "Thank the doctors, nurses and hospitals hospitals trying to control this. They're saving lives.They're the real heroes and we're trying to do a small part making masks."