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Southeast Texas teachers help create protective mask seals for EMS workers using 3D printers

Beaumont Police Sgt. Mike Custer heard about the shortage, and got in contact with two technology teachers

BEAUMONT, Texas — Most people have heard by now, personal protective equipment is in high demand due to the pandemic. 

When Beaumont Police Sergeant Mike Custer found out there was a need in Beaumont, he made a phone call to an old friend. 

"Chief Wheat, Chris Landry and I were sitting around talking about PPE's and shortfalls," Custer said. 

The shortage made Custer turn to technology and a high school teacher. The result was dozens of flexible seals for protective masks worn by EMS workers to help further protect them from being exposed to COVID-19. 

"It's amazing the technology can allow us to work a problem and get a solution that quickly. Jimmy and Mark did a great job," Custer said. 

Jimmy Gaspard is the director of technology at Kirbyville CISD and Mark Simmons is the director of technology at Sabine Pass ISD. 

When Sgt. Custer told Gaspard about the issue with the PPE, he and Simmons got to work using the 3D printers from their schools. 

"The original design was already there. Specifically we just looked at a way to make it flexible where it would fit the head but to basically close it a little more so it would fit snuggly against the head," Gaspard said. 

Chris Landry works with Beaumont EMS. He says the seal is what helps protect EMS workers from contracting COVID-19 from a patient. 

"As we know world-wide we have a shortage of PPE at all times so wtih these we can actually decontaminate them over and over again and allow our crews to be protected for an indefinite amount of time," Landry said. 

From the 3D printer to the front lines, Sgt. Custer says he's grateful for the help. 

"We are really thankful," Custer said. 

Gaspar says they donated 45 masks and will make more if needed. 

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