Local company making face shields for medical workers
BROCTON — The nation’s in a fight against an invisible enemy, and the best protection against it is to keep it away entirely. Jamestown Plastics is doing its part in a big way.
The heroes on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are in desperate need of facial protection, and the Brocton company is responding. It’s turned its attention to making tens of thousands of the True Hero Shield, a device to keep out germs that’s intended for medical workers and other emergency personnel.
“We started working from a fresh design a week ago today,” Jamestown Plastics President Jay Baker said Monday. Baker said he and two of his top designers came up with the idea for the shield.
“We do all of our tooling, everything from soup to nuts, in-house here in Brocton. We were in production on a limited basis 24 hours after we had the idea,” Baker said. About 12 hours after the first shields were made, they were in use at Family Health Services in Mayville.
“We’ve been running literally around the clock to get additional product out,” Baker said. The company is not at full production capacity yet, but it is expecting a shipment of raw materials that should let it get there tonight, he said. When it’s at full production, Jamestown Plastics will make “40 to 50,000 a day,” he added.
The shields are going far beyond Chautauqua County. “Social media found us from other areas,” Baker said. “This is pretty rapidly being deployed all across North America.”
Baker sought to emphasize that the shields are not available to the general public right now. “We don’t want people calling here trying to get them. … The whole focus is health care professionals,” he said, adding that other emergency service personnel, such as police and fire departments, can get them too.
Baker said any health care or emergency workers who want the shields can make inquiries through a website set up for the purpose, www.trueheroshields.com.
There are more versions of the shield in development. “We see this as being a sustainable business model after the crisis,” Baker said. “We took a fresh sheet of paper and approached this thing, rather than just copying.”
The name of the shield reflects the belief that Baker shares with many others right now: Health care workers are true heroes.
“This is completely on the front line folks. Everyone should be thinking of them,” he said.
Those folks need help, though, and Baker had a message: Your neighbors working at his company are making a heroic effort of their own, working all three shifts to produce protection.
“The people that are making this miracle happen are the people from our backyards,” he said. “Jamestown Plastics doesn’t believe, but knows, we have the best staff in the world. We’re asking a lot of them.
“We feel blessed to be in a position to make a difference,” he concluded.