Curtis Wazny, owner of Laser’s Edge Design in Penhold, has applied for federal approval to mass produce laser-cut disposable face shields. Contributed photo

Red Deer man wants to make face shields in response to COVID-19 pandemic

A central Alberta man says he wants to “make a difference” by creating plastic face shields for doctors and nurses.

Curtis Wazny, owner of Laser’s Edge Design in Penhold, has applied for federal approval to mass produce laser-cut disposable face shields, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re kind of heading into all this blind – everything is moving really fast,” Wazny said Friday.

“You see the stories in New York, where they have no medical supplies, and I’ve already heard out of Toronto they’re running out of the N95 masks.

“If we get ahead of this, and if it turns out to be even worse than what everyone is saying, then we have this stuff already readily available.”

Wazny said he applied for approval on the government’s website.

“They made a call out to industry Canada-wide to see what kind of innovation is out there. Essentially, I applied to it yesterday and again today, offering a short description of what you’re capable of doing, a short description of what you have and the cost,” he said.

“They’re going to go through all that and figure out which ones are best suited for what they need.”

The face shields are made out of the plastic sheets used on overhead projectors, said Wazny.

“They’re thick enough where they’ll hold nicely. The way they’re put together, it’s all cut out flat. You can ship out 1,000 or 2,000 of these things in one box,” he said.

“You’re looking at about a minute to cut out two full face shields, and that’s with all the parts and everything necessary to make them.”

The face shield “essentially snaps together,” he added.

“There’s no actual moving pieces on these things at all. All they do is sit on your head. It’s got a strap like any other kind of mask, that you pull on the back and then fold over a tab once you get your desired tightness.”

Wazny estimates his shop would be capable of making 5,000 face shields a day, if it ran 24/7.

“I’m not in it to make money. I’m in it to make a difference.”

Wazny’s mother is an ER nurse practising in Alberta, so he’s heard about the benefits of having personal protective equipment.

“I thought if I could get approval for this, I might actually be able to make a difference in some way, whether it be big or small.”

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