SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — From protecting students from criminals, to protecting medical workers from COVID-19, a Syracuse-based company is continuing its mission in keeping Central New York safe.
Armoured One, a school security company, has shifted from manufacturing bulletproof glass to protective face shields amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company is donating the shields to local hospitals and first responders, as well as selling them to the public online.
“My vice president of sales wondered if we could make our window film into face shields,” said Armoured One’s CEO Tom Czyz. “That’s when we began developing it. It took about three weeks of change over with equipment and retraining personnel, but it is about three weeks later. So, last week we were cranking out a lot.”
Since the change, the company has been making shields very quickly.
“We’re averaging about 100,000 face shields a week and the goal is to get up to 200,000,” said Czyz. “We really expected to maybe to donate 1,000 or 5,000 of these. The way that it’s taken off that we’re looking into the millions.”
The shields are in high demand for healthcare workers and frontline workers.
“We started by donating,” said Czyz. “We donated over 5,000, but quickly it was running us out of money and resources. So, we had to charge, so we began charging… Over 90% are going to hospitals and the other 10% is first responders. So, we’re still donating, for every case sold we are still donating.”
Most of the shields are being distributed in Central New York, but they are also being purchased by people and companies across the country. They have even been sent as far as Hawaii and the response has been emotional.
“It has been absolutely incredible,” said Czyz. “I mean people are crying. One lady showed up from an ER shift, she drove here for two hours and showed up from an ER, fell on her knees picking up the boxes crying because they’re so grateful to have them because they keep rewashing the same ones, they can’t see through them.”
The face shields are made from the same film Armoured One uses for its protective windows. They also have a foam padding on the top and a cord to secure it around the person’s head. All of the materials are made in America and are locally sourced.
“The size of our shields cover, really cover, top of the head to all your neck and from ear to ear,” said EL Manufacturing President Scott Beecher. “So, it really gives you good protection from any splash or any kind of contamination.”
Armoured One teamed up with EL Manufacturing, which is located in Horseheads, New York, to make the shields. EL Manufacturing helps cutting the plastic and foam.
“They’ve helped double what we are able to do,” said Czyz. “Plus [Scott’s] able to bring a bunch of employees back. We’re still considered small business in the U.S. We know all of our employees. We know their families are hurting right now.”
With the manufacturing of these face shields, hundreds of Central New York residents have stayed employed during the coronavirus pandemic and thousands have been protected while fighting COVID-19.