Volunteer Firefighter International

Volunteer Firefighter Designs N-95 Filter for SCBA Mask

The units made on a 3-D printer may see post-COVID life as protection during overhaul operations

By Randy McRoberts, The Aegis

Back in April, in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a national shortage of protective N95 masks.

Ryan Githens and Joe Webster, both engineers for Oceaneering, a engineering and applied technologies company with offices in Hanover, used their design skills to create a workaround solution to keep first responders in their community safe — an adapter that allows firefighters to use their SCBA masks as an N95 filter, “protecting their respiratory system and face from potential exposure to the virus,” Githens said.

Related: How Fire Departments Can Prepare for the Next COVID-19 Spike

Githens, a senior electronic technician, is also volunteer firefighter with the Abingdon Fire Company.

When the fire company had trouble sourcing N95 masks, Githens found commercially available filter pads with equivalent N95 efficiency ratings. However, no product was available to connect the N95 filter cartridge directly to the SCBA face piece. A modification would be required to add the filter pad to the SCBA.

Related: COVID-19 Resources for Volunteer Firefighters

In need of design savvy and a 3D printer, Githens incorporated the help of Webster, a principal designer at Oceaneering. The two modeled the adapter piece using the SCBA face piece and the bayonet-style connection used for the N95 filter platform.

Read the full story here.

Image: Matt Button, The Aegis

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