During the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve seen many businesses pivot to survive. It’s wonderful to hear about one of our longtime Have Wheelchair Will Travel readers who has done just that. It’s even better knowing that the way they’ve pivoted their business may benefit support workers and people with a disability. We’ve certainly kept BJ isolated for a longer period of time due to our concerns about him needing support and this involving people working in such close proximity to him. I’ve also never been so conscious of just how much he touches his face. When Sam mentioned her businesses was making personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of face shields, I asked her if she could provide more information so I could share it with you all.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) – SHIELDS TO PROTECT SUPPORT WORKERS AND PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY
I’ll let Sam explain how her business made the shift and how the shields work.
Sam tell us how you came to start making the shield.
The shields came to be developed during the height of the Covid 19 crisis when Australian governments asked businesses to retool to help with the shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) for our frontline healthcare workers. Normally we are printing event signage and manufacturing signs but as events were cancelled overnight and businesses shutdown our business came to a halt. We decided we need to pivot our business in order to survive & keep our team of ten employed so started brainstorming what could we create using our technology, machinery and skills set with materials that were in supply in the country right now. In just 4 days we designed, prototyped, tested with doctors a ready assembled, reusable and recyclable face shield completely made in Australia. Our first design shield, Shield Pro quickly caught the eye of Health Departments, aged care facilities and medical practices. We have produced over 22,000 shields in the past 8 weeks with production still continuing. We have just launched a second shield to our range, Invershield – an inverted shield which offers more face protection and suitable for many different environments, not just the medical space.
What are the shields made of and how are they worn?
The shields are made from 1mm PETG, the same material as a plastic Coke bottle and have a two stainless steel eyelets which help form the shape of shield.
The Shield Pro is more like a face visor and has an adjustable headband.
The Invershield offers full face protection and has an adjustable Velcro neck band which can be placed under the collar of a uniform or shirt. Both shields have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA).
How do you think they may assist the disability community?
Both shields offer functionality to both support workers and their clients. The shields offer easy breathing solutions over a mask which people often find restricting to wear. They are very lightweight and comfortable to wear and as they are optically clear they are friendly for the deaf and hard of hearing community allowing them to lip read something which masks don’t.
For those with comprised immunity systems or who just want to keep that extra social distance the Invershield is the perfect choice by offering full face protection. The fact that they are reusable is fantastic over disposable shields and masks and are easily cleaned using alcohol wipes or warm soapy water and a microfibre cloth.
How much are the shields and how can people buy one?
A single Shield Pro is $22.00 and an Invershield is $33.00 plus delivery. Multiple packs are on offer and can be purchased at Baily Protective Gear.
Given we are a travel website, we’d love to hear about your favourite holiday destination or holiday you’ve had and any accessibility tips you can share.
We love a road trip because it allows us to have all our gear with us and offers flexibility and freedom. We love pulling into motels where you can park right at the door and walk straight into your room because of their ground level design. We are great fans of Newcastle and its surrounds in NSW. Coming from humid Brisbane we enjoy Toowoomba for its cooler temperatures, its big wide flat streets, great wheelchair friendly paths through beautiful gardens and parks and lots of handicap street parks.
My biggest learning from travelling is no matter how well prepared you are, things don’t always go to plan, so just take deep breaths and be super friendly and kind to those who are trying to help, a smile goes a long way.