In April 2020, just as the Covid-19 began significantly impacting the United States, AccuTec Blades was approached by the local Staunton Augusta Rescue Squad (SARS). The squad, along with the nation, was faced with inadequate numbers of HEPA filters. These filters are placed in-line on respiratory assist devices to filter the air going to and from a patient. Hospitals across the country had bought up all the available filters.
Covid-19 is primarily a serious respiratory disease. Its symptoms range from a mild flu to full blown septic shock. Some of the most serious patients need immediate airway management and intervention. Two of the biggest and most life-saving procedures rescue squads perform for respiratory assist are CPAP and Intubation. CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is an oxygen delivery system that pushes high levels of oxygen into the lungs. Intubation allows rescue teams to take over a patient’s breathing using a flexible rubber air bladder than an EMS provider ca
Due to the lack of HEPA filters, the EMS Captain for Augusta County, Virginia was concerned that rescue squads across the County would have to stop performing CPAP and Intubation procedures as the need for this life saving procedure was increasing. Then, during a video conference meeting with agency Pandemic leaders, 3-D printing was brought up as a solution for creating HEPA filters. SARS representatives immediately contacted AccuTec and a meeting was set.
Within one week of the initial meeting, AccuTec Engineers Luis Mendez and Forrest Yates, and Machinist Tony Winger had created a prototype. Some adjustments to the prototype were necessary such as getting connectors to properly align by adjusting the printer settings. Another consideration for the engineers was that the surface of the filters be non-porous. Once the prototype was complete, AccuTec produced over 20 filters that were reusable and interchangeable for SARS equipment.
The national supply has slowly begun to replenish. Now all of SARS ambulances and fire apparatus have both HEPA and back-up reusable filters.