What You Do Matters – Helping a Community

July 28, 2020 | News

Try, if you can, to think back to a time when personal protective equipment (PPE) – gloves, masks, face shields and the like – wasn’t the topic of daily news stories and dinner table conversation. It wasn’t all that long ago.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic made PPE a valuable commodity. With increased global demand and interruptions in traditional suppliers, these essential supplies quickly became limited. Recognizing that healthcare workers could be left without, Evan Digby took action.

Evan is a software developer living in Maple Ridge with his wife and two kids. As a self-described 3D printing enthusiast, he quickly took note of the potential to use his hobby to provide some much-needed supplies.

“I wanted to ensure my local community had the supplies they need. Being a small town, I could see Maple Ridge being somewhat left behind when it came to major ‘corporate’ donations.” says Evan.

To those unfamiliar with the practice, 3D printing is something you may expect to see in a science fiction movie. Using plastics or other materials, these printers take digital designs and turn them into physical, three dimensional objects.

While 3D printing of PPE isn’t new, many of these printed products are either ineffective, dangerous, or simply not up to the province’s standards.

“For me it wasn’t just a matter of whether or not someone would accept it — I feel the standards are there for a reason, and I wanted to produce something that would be as effective as possible,“ explains Evan.

With some careful research, Evan created a face shield design that not only fit BC’s requirements, but prints faster than other templates found online. To ensure they meet standards, Evan handles productions from start-to-finish, including assembling and sterilizing.

Having raised over $1200 in donations, Evan has been able to supply people working in high-risk situations with face shields.

His impressive design also caught the eye of SafeCare BC after the Ridge Meadows Hospital pointed him towards our Operation Protect initiative, in which businesses and individuals have donated more than 1.2 million items of PPE. As he ramps up production, Evan hopes to supply even more people with his high-quality masks.

Evan shows that you don’t need to be a healthcare workers to make a difference in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more about Operation Protect.