As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in parts of the U.S., states are still struggling to secure the volume of PPE necessary to keep up with the spread of the virus. To help arm frontline workers, BIC North America will be producing 2,000 medical-grade face shields per day at its factory in Milford, Conn. The face shields, approved by the FDA as Level 1 medical devices, are all made with materials typically used in packaging (the plastic) or would otherwise be scrap from materials used in the lighters. In addition, the shields are designed so the plastic can be removed and sterilized by the hospitals, rather than disposed of.
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To date, BIC has received requests for nearly 25,000 shields from a number of Connecticut hospitals (including Waterbury and Norwalk), nursing homes, police/fire departments, AMR (the ambulance/first responders), and others.
“As a global company with thousands of team members in communities around the world, we strongly believe that we have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to make a meaningful contribution to our communities during this global health crisis,” says Gonzalve Bich, BIC CEO. “Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by COVID-19. We send our heartfelt gratitude to all the doctors, nurses, paramedics, factory workers, and first responders putting themselves on the frontlines to protect our communities and economies.”
Other donations from BIC include the following:
· Eighty-seven thousand razors were donated through Amazon’s Goods for Good program, which allows non-profits to place free orders with free shipping to those they serve, including community service organizations, veterans groups, food banks, and housing organizations. BIC has committed up to 200,000 razors through this program, but Amazon wants to order them in batches and will replenish when inventory diminishes.
· More than 7,000 multipurpose lighters were donated to two non-profit community organizations, including one that supports military families.
· More than 28,000 stationery products and 4,000 shavers were donated to the Respiratory Care Department of the Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital in Michigan.
BIC’s efforts also extend globally. At the end of March, BIC began producing face shields at its lighter facility in Redon, France. The team there is producing 3,000 per day using raw materials the company already has in its possession, including packaging plastic, rubber, and more. The first batch was donated to the local hospital and police force. Production of these and other face shields has expanded to facilities in Brazil, Greece, and Tunisia for local hospitals and government agencies.