Outerwear for Healthcare: Dakine Makes Masks and Gowns To Help Battle Coronavirus
It’s Friday… time for some positive news. Up in the Pacific Northwest, Dakine has put its resources to good use during these trying times to make medical-grade protection for those on the front lines battling the current pandemic. We quickly caught up with Dakine’s Director of Marketing Colleen Quigley and VP of Sales Chico Bukovansky for a bit more info.
How did this initiative come about?
Colleen: Our healthcare and essential workforce are putting their health at risk for all of us. We all know the supply chain and availability of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is very challenged right now, and Dakine quickly realized that we have talent and resources in house to take action, and could shift to making masks and gowns to help local hospitals. It’s not big scale production, but the ball is rolling and we’re doing what we can… We’ll make as many as we can with the supplies and our in house resources, for as long as the supply chain for PPE equipment is strained.
Chico: We don’t have a goal of how many but right now it seems we have enough material to build 5–6,000. After that, it depends on the material supply as we are already looking to the future. We are also prepping cotton based mask kits that we will likely offer to the local community for home sew mask kits all pre-cut.
How tough is switching the operation from your normal products to making masks and gowns?
Colleen: We’re lucky to have two amazing and talented people in house–Reynaldo and Lone—behind the patterns and the machines. These two are making all the masks by hand. We’re not set up for large scale production, but they output these two people are capable of is incredible.
Chico: It is pretty easy for us. The facility here is mainly a prototyping/sample facility so they work on a variety of products from packs, bags gloves and headwear. It’s not one production line type of system. The guys had fun with it and enjoy putting their twist on the pattern and making slight improvements to the process where possible.
And the connection to the medical-grade material?
Colleen: Originally, we were going to use the materials we had on hand at our office to make cotton masks. Luckily we came across a supply of medical-grade mask material through Gorge Makers Collective. With those materials and our in house capabilities, we were able to switch to making medical grade masks that are washable and re-steriliazable. There is also a shortage of gowns, and with Gorge Makers and the Renewal Workshop, we are helping to stack cut bulk Tyvek material for the gowns so they can be welded and built at the Renewal Workshop.
Chico: Sort of lucked into it with the right connections.
Finally, who will you be sending them to?
Colleen: Right now we are working to supply our local community in and around Hood River, OR. Many of our staff have close family and friends working on the front lines as essential workers and in health care, both locally and nationally. Our local community is facing a shortage and we are doing what we can to protect them.
We don’t know how long this will last, but at least we know there are people trying to help. As far as expanding the effort Chico addressed the company in an email stating, “Once the project and process’s get a bit further along, there may be some opportunities for some volunteer help on the project as well. We will let you know if this option comes up and a program can be set-up as we have to keep the process, distancing and cleanliness of all steps in line with the rules.”
Chico ended with, “We are lucky to have a local community of craftspeople in Hood River. With windsurfing and kite business in town, there are a lot of sewers, pattern makers, etc. Other local businesses are also deep into face shield production and gown building as well. The momentum is growing daily as are the request for supplies. Lots of community input, talent and support.”