Ready for delivery, these masks were earmarked for the COVID-19 ICU in Surrey.

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

If you’d asked Pat Lee two weeks ago if he’d ever be manufacturing plastic face masks, he would have thought you were crazy.

But things have changed a lot in the last 14 days.

The Chilliwack man who owns three Certified Auto Sound and Security locations is repurposing technology that normally produces car audio and security solutions, using it to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers.

“At our Maple Ridge location we have machines that allow us to mass-produce the parts and pieces of a plastic face shield,” Lee explains. “We’re assembling those parts and pieces at our Maple Ridge, Abbotsford and Chilliwack stores so we can distribute them to the people who need them.

“Later today I’ll be dropping off 100 face shields and 200 of the clip pieces for behind the mask at the Abbotsford Hospital.

“Another 100 went to the Surrey COVID-19 ICU yesterday and we are just trying to get them everywhere we can.”

READ MORE: Canada looking to re-use disinfected masks

READ MORE: Are you a senior needing help in the COVID-19 crisis?

At a time when many businesses are doing all they can to just ride out the storm, Lee didn’t want to be sitting on the sideline.

“It comes down to doing the right thing for our community,” he says. “We have the equipment and the capability, so why not do this? People who’ve reached out to me tell me they’re pulling used disposable face shields out of the garbage, sanitizing them and re-using them because they have nothing.”

Lee has not been immune to making tough decisions, including laying off employees.

But he’s been pleasantly surprised to find people adopting that ‘all in this together’ mentality.

“Staff members that I had to lay off are coming back and volunteering their time to help us do this,” he says. “My parents are volunteering their time to put these masks together. It’s great to see how this crisis has brought out the best in most people.”

Some of Lee’s vendors have chipped in financially, donating money to help with the rising cost of materials. To date, Lee’s crew has produced approximately 600 masks, and as word has filtered out, requests have increased dramatically.

Materials are starting to become scarce.

Chilliwack’s Wellington Plastics is helping source 50 sheets of PETG, a clear thermoplastic that forms the shield part of the face shield.

“That’ll allow us to produce another 2,000,” Lee says.

As stressful as it is to find materials and put in the manual-labour hours to produce the masks, Lee wants more organizations to know this option exists.

If that means he has to figure out a way to keep producing more and more and more of them, he’ll find a way.

“We don’t care about the press for our business,” he says. “We just want the awareness to be out there so we can get as many as possible into the hands of people who need them. If anyone can help with the costs of materials so we can keep producing them, that’s the whole hope of ours because we just want to keep helping people.”

Connect with Lee online through the Certified Auto Sound Facebook page.


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Influx of cross-border visitors to Peace Arch Park sparks concern COVID-19 could spike

Police, parks officials say patrols, education and signage have all been increased

Barn catches fire in Surrey

Fire department says ‘pressurized containers’ inside the structure

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

What June 1 will look like at Surrey schools

High school students following a ‘tutorial model’ where they sign up through a set schedule of times

South Surrey church to host drive-thru food-donation station

Items dropped off to Mount Olive Lutheran Church to benefit Surrey Urban Mission program

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read

l -->