Nikki Bridges Steps Up and Prints Face Shields for Emergency Responders and Medical Professionals
May 5, 2020
Nicole “Nikki” Bridges is a RF Systems Engineer – Program Manager supporting the Department of Defense (DoD). She 3D-printed and distributed National Institute of Health (NIH) clinically reviewed face shields to first responders, trauma surgeons, COVID-19 internists, nurses, and other specialists located in Virginia, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania.
MTSI is full of people that solve problems in innovative ways – QUICKLY. Right now, emergency responders and medical professionals are fighting this pandemic, and unfortunately, they are running out of personal protective equipment (PPE). The World Health Organization has called for a 40% manufacturing increase to meet demand, and it takes time to influence a supply chain. If you can make, you can help! Information is below.
Q: Nikki, why are you so passionate about this?
A: One of my best friends is a civilian for the DoD. He is brilliant and works on amazing technology for national defense, and he is also a volunteer fire fighter. He confided in me that several of his rural fire departments were running out of PPE. They were reusing masks, giving their own mask supplies to patients, and did not have face shields. Once they had a sufficient supply of these 3D-printed face shields, I started looking into other areas of need. Fairfax County, VA alone had over 30 organizations requesting assistance. This effort is national defense – just not in the way we typically define it. Let’s protect the ones protecting us. Let’s live up to our Core Values.
Q: Ok, I think I can find something to tackle. Now what?
A: Follow these links:
- Register as a maker
- National Institute of Health (NIH) 3D Print Exchange
- Find an organization accepting your goods
Q: I have a 3D printer. Right now, I am bored and just making fidget toys. What can I do?
A: The National Institute of Health has a database of clinically reviewed models available to print, along with instructions, quality control processes, etc. Refer to the picture of Nikki for an example of an NIH-reviewed 3D-printed face shield that she built. Some of these items include face masks, face shields, mask strap relief bands, etc. Print these, and then find an organization in need!
Q: I can sew and have tons of old t-shirts left over from my military days…what can I do?
A: Many organizations are accepting homemade masks to help combat the spread of disease, or to extend the life of their current PPE. These are easy to make with basic skills and supplies. Click here for additional information.
Q: I can do lots of things, but I have no supplies! Can I still help?
A: Absolutely! There are a lot of companies donating supplies or offering steep discounts, available for shipping. Click here for maker supplies/discounts.
Q: I want to help, but are homemade items safe to donate?
A: That is a completely fair concern! These items advertise as “last resort,” and come with disclaimers to organizations that they are to be used “at risk.” There are several quality control processes applied to reduce risk (hand hygiene, packaging protocol, etc.). NIH reviewed the designs (if you choose one of these). Additionally, the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies (OSCMS) medical review team consists of approximately 30 physicians, healthcare workers and providers, ensuring that review each design for its utility and safety in a healthcare setting. They suggest appropriate modifications that may improve the design and make suggestions on appropriate materials and other construction details if appropriate. Not all organizations are accepting handmade items, so please contact your donation POC first.