Burton, the world’s leading snowboard manufacturer, which is based in Burlington, Vt., has committed to donating 500,000 KN95 respirator masks to medical personnel across the Northeast. Burton turned to Fudakin, its longtime snowboard binding factory partner in China, to obtain the masks and UPS Express to fly them to the U.S.
The first 48,000 have been delivered and will be distributed to hospitals across the state of Vermont and to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, where the late Jake Burton Carpenter, the company’s founder, spent two months of his life in the ICU battling Miller Fisher Syndrome in 2015.
The additional 452,000 masks are in production and are expected to arrive in the next 10-14 days.
The Vermont State Emergency Operations Center, with support from the Vermont governor’s office, will deliver 50 percent of the masks to designated hospitals in Boston and New York City where the need is the greatest.
“It is a national disgrace that the medical supply chain in this country has not been federalized and that states are competing for desperately needed supplies,” said Donna Carpenter, Burton’s chairman of the board and widow of Jake Burton Carpenter. “This fundamental failure of federal leadership in our greatest hour of need will inevitably cause more pain, suffering and loss of precious life. That being said, it’s an honor to be able to quickly mobilize Burton’s supply chain to help the doctors, nurses and other selfless professionals who are saving lives right here in the Northeast.”
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said, “Protecting our frontline health-care workers is not only the right thing to do, it is critical to our effort to face, fight and defeat this pandemic together. This is a prime example of how Vermonters are rising to the occasion and uniting around a common purpose during these unprecedented times.”
In addition to the importation of the masks, dozens of Burton employees are sewing face masks from home to be donated to local medical workers, and the company has launched an effort to make medical face shields at its Rapid Prototype Facility in Burlington. The goal is to produce 500 shields a week to be distributed to the University of Vermont Medical Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital employees.
And Anon, Burton’s helmet and goggle division, is working with GogglesforDocs.com to provide snow goggles to medical professionals in need of eye protection. So far, 1,300 goggles have been donated.
Through the joint effort with Adidas, Carbon is producing more than 18,000 face shields each week. Last month, Carbon shifted all manufacturing in its California facilities to focus on developing medical supplies for first responders and health-care workers. The two companies have used open source collaboration to develop 3-D-printed footwear since 2017.
Their 3-D-printed lattice structures are meant to reduce the amount of materials used, increase the speed of production and improve comfort and performance for patients and health-care workers. Adidas is pitching in by donating the face shields to the health care facilities and first responders in the U.S. that are most in need. Carbon has shared print files with its global network so that anyone with access to a Carbon printer and material can make face shields to help health-care facilities in their areas.