LA Face Shields - Team of volunteers from the entertainment industry fabricating and donating face shields to healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic
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As the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers continues to rise, Los Angeles-based LA Face Shields—a group of volunteers made up of out-of-work entertainment industry freelancers—is doing their part to protect those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic by producing hundreds of face shields a day and distributing them to over 40 hospitals around Southern California.
A month ago, prop maker Rob West answered a call on an art department Facebook group from an ER doctor requesting face shields — simple transparent barriers that cover health care workers’ faces and prevent infectious droplets from entering their mouths, eyes, and noses. Within 20 hours, West created a prototype and sent photos and videos to the doctor, who approved the design and paid for the first order of 600 to be used at the hospitals where he works.
West tells IndieWire (4/14), “I’ve done a lot of gigs where you’re just thrown into the middle of it and you have 48 hours to come up with a thing and make 60 of them. It’s not so dissimilar to what I normally do. I feel pretty fortunate that there was a place for me to contribute something. I’ve considered using my skills and joining a group overseas that builds homes or makes eyeglasses. But I never really considered that the entire US would be in a state of crisis and I would need to act on it in a humanitarian way to help my community.”
West tapped friends, neighbors, and colleagues to form a team of around 25, who are working around the clock (while maintaining social distancing as much as possible) from his Hollywood home as they build, sterilize, and distribute around 400 face shields per day (over 4,000 total), along with negotiate deals or donations from suppliers for the vinyl, elastic bands, and foam needed to create the face shields (which cost $2.50 per shield to fabricate).
Most recently, as hospitals are requesting more advanced equipment, LA Face Shields was tasked with making other emergency medical equipment. In response, the innovative team recently introduced their newest design, the Respiratory Shield (pictured below), featuring a collapsible, reusable, and lightweight tent that can be placed over a patient during procedures that require intubation or CPAP. This new shield provides an optically clear barrier (limiting droplet exposure), much better protection, and can be deployed in seconds (a fraction of the time and effort that other options require). The Respiratory Shield has received two thumbs up from ICU doctors and is now being deployed across Southern California.