How Our Team is Supporting Frontline Healthcare Workers
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How Our Team is Supporting Frontline Healthcare Workers

April 10, 2020

The Cirrus Aircraft community is what makes us unique. It expands beyond our walls and includes our team, partners, owners, operators and local communities. And now, more than ever, we are in this together.

As the current global crisis causes us to pause and reflect on what’s essential, our team began working on ways we could support the frontline healthcare workers in our communities. Because solutions come from ingenuity and grit, and we never shy away from innovation.

We started by looking at what actions we could take to help immediately – with basic personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies. Our supply team sprang into action, completing a robust analysis of our current supplies and future supply chains to ensure we could donate supplies without jeopardizing the wellbeing of our team as we continue production. Our first round of donations, including gloves, hand sanitizer and lab gear was dropped off to local hospitals in Duluth, Minnesota and we’re actively analyzing our future orders for additional donation opportunities.

Bobbie Nielsen, Executive Director, Strategic Sourcing, delivering supplies to St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota.

But we’re a team of dreamers and donating extra gear wasn’t enough. So, we also put our production and product development teams to work building real solutions for one of the most urgent problems facing the medical community – face masks and respirators. And we teamed up with Frost River Trading, another local manufacturer in Duluth to tackle the project in tandem.

Over the last few days, our experimental team has assembled 31,500 face shields for the local medical community. These face shields were made possible from materials provided by Frost River Trading and our team’s steady work. As a disposable shield, they are a critical need as a simple and effective tool to protect healthcare workers.

Cirrus Aircraft and Frost River Trading create 31,500 face shields for local healthcare workers.

Of even greater need are Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) – battery-powered blowers that provide positive airflow through a filter to a hood that protects healthcare workers from contaminated air. At the moment, these units are in extremely high demand with traditional medical supply options limited. Our team, along with Frost River Trading, quickly got to work prototyping equipment to meet this need, with 850 hood and coupler assemblies to be created in the next week.

At the heart of creating full PAPR units, is a project to recreate the blower units available at area hospitals, which are in short supply. Our engineers have designed, prototyped and tested a replacement assembly using computer aided design (CAD) software as well as 3D printing. The design our team came up with costs a fraction of the typical unit supplied to hospitals. The newly prototyped design will be tested in the coming weeks. If approved, Cirrus Aircraft is set to provide nearly 200 blower assemblies.