The City of Auburndale and Florida Polytechnic University are working together to make a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting local first responders with adequate protective supplies. The City has requested for the local STEM university to produce parts for over one hundred face shields to make up for a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies.

Florida Poly has 30 three-dimensional printers and the ability to produce the components for the face shields, including the head bands and a stabilizer that ensures the clear plastic shield doesn’t flare out at the bottom. The City has secured the clear plastic shields and elastic straps to complete the face shields. The City’s Library staff is helping to sanitize and package the shields.

When used in conjunction with face mask like N-95 respirators, the face shields add another layer of protection against exposure to the COVID-19 and other virus.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention have recognized an ongoing shortage of medical supplies, and have determined that various technologies and organizations not typically involved in the manufacture of medical devices may be deployed to assist in meeting the demand for certain products during the COVID-19 pandemic when conventional products are unavailable or when traditional manufactures cannot meet the demand.

It has been very difficult to secure supplies of face shields for use by first responder personnel. Therefore, it was deemed necessary to request the production of these masks. In a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two agencies, the City pays for the cost of materials and supplies used for production of the face shields. That same document also states that these face shields are only to be used by trained firefighters in conjunction with other PPE such as N-95 respirator masks.

We expect this effort to help protect our first responders from potential exposure to COVID-19 when answering emergency medical calls. We appreciate the community support of FL Poly, especially of our first responders as they help to keep Auburndale safe.