Do-it-yourself community making life-saving gear for Colorado medical professionals

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DURANGO, Colo. (KDVR) — A small lab in Colorado is working countless hours to make personal protective equipment for medical staff fighting the coronavirus. 

When word got out that local doctors and nurses were running low on their masks and gowns, a group of mostly volunteers sprang into action. 

In Durango, emergency room nurse Kammie Schuhmann was worried as she and coworkers treated patients showing symptoms of the virus.

“I said, ‘You know, this is real. I saw five of these people. And it’s here and they are sick. And we are running out of masks, we’re running out of equipment and I’m scared for my family,'” Schuhmann said.

That message made its way to members of the local do-it-yourself community who belong to an organization called the MakerLab – a space to create and invent. 

In record time, the group made up mostly of volunteers started making face shields, safety goggles, N95 mask replacements and even protective suits with a respirator at the request of a local doctor who said a wave of COVID-19 patients was coming. 

“He said, ‘I know you guys kind of put this aside, but if you can make 50 of these for me in 10 days, it’ll save lives.’ You could see how scared he was,” MakerLab’s Ryan Finnigan said.

Then, MakerLab started making thousands of faces shields like the one Schuhmann wore during her interview with FOX31. 

“It’s a lot more than just a piece of plastic,” said Schuhmann.

Finnigan added, “We have to do this. It’s a wartime effort. If we don’t do it, who else is going to do it?”

MakerLab is a nonprofit and has funded much of its equipment building with its own money. 

The group has set up a GoFundMe page for donations to buy more material to build more of the gear.

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