Personal protective equipment is a life-saving necessity for healthcare workers and some people in Muskogee County have found a creative way to help with the shortage of PPE.

Some healthcare workers in Muskogee County are concerned about the lack of proper Personal Protection Equipment, that’s why County Commissioner Ken Doke found a way to make ventilator masks using 3D printers.

Doke found an open source design for the masks online from a company in Montana, and started figuring out a way to do it in Muskogee for places like hospitals and nursing homes. 

“I took it to the Muskogee fabrication lab, to Collin McCawley over there, and we made some tweaks and printed a couple prototypes and looked like that was going to work well for us,” said Doke.

The masks are made of plastic, so they’re easy to sanitize and reuse, an important quality because masks like that aren’t easy to find right now.

Doke wants to make it clear, though, the masks are not medically certified. Only N-95 masks can protect you from COVID-19.

“But if it comes down to not having that, then hopefully this can be a really great alternative for that,” he said.

Doke quickly contacted other businesses with 3D printers to help make the masks. In all, they’re able to produce about 50 masks every day.

“When we have our healthcare workers that are going to the front lines to fight this battle for us, we want to make sure they have the proper equipment to protect themselves, and we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure they have that.”

Collin McCawley is the manager of the Muskogee Public Schools Fab Lab. He said he’s happy to be working on potentially life-saving gear.

“I feel like anybody that had the same resources and opportunity to help would have done the same thing,” he said.

It’s that attitude Doke says is the “Muskogee County Way” – people stepping up to create local solutions to local problems.       

Doke said one company he’s working with has plans to develop a faster production technique to increase the amount of masks they can make.

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