A 13-year old from Okotoks and his family are on a mission. They are doing their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and equip Alberta's frontline medical staff with some much needed protective gear.
Owen Plumb began producing 3D printed face shields last week. He got the idea after the 3D printer company Prusa Printers released a design for the masks. The printing company encouraged members of the public to follow suit and produce their own; to distribute to healthcare workers.
Plumb says that he has had a keen interest in this form of technology for some time.
He says "I've been 3D printing for a couple of years, I've been following the technology for about four years now. It's been a roller coaster of ups and downs, 3D printer working and 3D printer not working. It's a really useful technology and it's fun to use."
The 13-year old says he has also been inspired to take proactive measures to ensure the safety of vulnerable members of his family.
He says "My grandmother is a healthcare worker. She works with elderly people and has started working with people that have caught the coronavirus, so we sent her a care package of one face shield and a whole bunch of extra visors. Also, my mom has a chronic lung disease, she can't go outside anymore."
The masks are made up of a 3D printed frame and headband to secure it. They also have a visor attached which is cut from a sheet of clear plastic. The masks are universally designed to fit most and have the functionality to protect against droplets from coughs and sneezes.
This has become a family endeavour. Plumb's parents have taken on an active administrative role, and they have been actively looking into ways of distributing these masks to the frontline workers.
His father Kevin started a Facebook group called "Face Shields for Foothills, AB" to help spread the word, as well as collaborate resources and knowledge from others wanting to help out.
He says "This group is working 24 hours a day it seems in order to try to get this to work out. There are a lot of people wanting to help out in any way they can, we see what's happening around the world, we know there's a shortage of these personal protective equipment pieces, face shields, face masks, gowns, caps. I think there's lots of people that felt there's something they could do to help out, so they're doing what they can."
The Plumb family has already fully assembled 75 masks and have set a goal to have 100 masks completed in the next week.
The masks are awaiting approval from Health Canada before distribution, and the Plumb family expects that they will be given the green light soon.
You can visit the "Face Shields for Foothills, AB" Facebook group by clicking here.