A version of this story initially appeared in Metro Magazine, School Bus Fleet’s sister publication.
JAMAICA, N.Y. — Rosco Vision Systems has joined an initiative to help supply much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment to medical workers in New York, the state that has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the pandemic hit New York earlier this year, Rosco formed a Coronavirus Committee within the company to stay ahead of emergency situations, and to help protect health and job security for all employees, according to a news release from the vision systems supplier. Weeks ahead of the peak in New York, Rosco split the workforce into two shifts to introduce social distancing into the manufacturing process and implemented overtime hours for manufacturing employees to prepare for a shutdown when needed.
“As a member partner of the Critical Manufacturing Sector of the Department of Homeland Security, we moved quickly to make sure that we maintained our operation for our customers who are critical to the defense industrial base, the transportation sector, and so many other vital sectors,” said Ben Englander, Rosco’s CEO.
Rosco is part of the essential workforce supply chain for markets including military, school bus, fire and rescue, transit bus, commercial bus, truck, and delivery/work vans. The supplier worked to ensure all customers’ needs were met before any potential shutdown.
As a preemptive measure during the projected peak of COVID-19 in New York City, Rosco shut down manufacturing facilities for 10 days from April 1 to 10 for a professional deep clean of the 150,000 square-foot location and offices. During this halt in manufacturing, Rosco concentrated efforts into 3D printing of ventilator splitters, assembling face shields, and working with suppliers to source and donate PPE for health care workers in the local community.
Rosco connected with Keep Breathing Inc., a nonprofit founded by Angel Pai and Timothy Phillips, and created in an evolving response to provide COVID-19 relief. Keep Breathing is comprised of a team of multi-disciplinary philanthropists, formed to provide open-source designs, as well as manufacture and donate 3D-printed ventilator splitters, intubation boxes, ear savers, and powered air-purifying respirators for medical staff on the front line.
The fully volunteer-based, grassroots organization grew to over 300 individual volunteers and companies in less than three days, sparking worldwide initiatives in over 10 countries. Using 3D printer files designed by Philip Sweeting, the vast groups of volunteers, including Rosco, were deployed for printing.
The ventilator splitters and ear savers have been donated to the NY State of Health, the state’s health insurance marketplace exchange, as well as directly to hospitals for testing and made available for use in case of emergency, according to Rosco.