ISEA’s five-minute video shows how PPE industry stepped up to the pandemic’s unprecedented challenges

As the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the globe, the industry that makes medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) rapidly ramped up production of N95 respirators and a range of other vital gear in response to surging demand from healthcare workers and other frontline responders. A new video from the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) — “Beyond the Mask” — shows how the PPE industry responded to the unprecedented challenges posed by the worst public-health crisis in a century.

“Beyond the Mask” reveals the behind-the-scenes work involved in getting PPE into the hands of those whose lives depended on it. The five-minute, fast-paced video was produced for ISEA by McLean, Virginia-based dBase Media, and features under-the-radar details, surprises and insights from industry leaders, including:

  • Charles Johnson, ISEA President talking about the timeline from when they first became aware of this novel virus quickly spreading throughout China.
  • Maryann D’Alessandro, Director of National Personal Protection Lab at National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) talks about fast-tracking approval times for new products over a period of days when it normally takes several months while doubling their decision output.
  • Dr. Denise Rutherford, Senior V.P. at 3M Corporation, reveals how the company responded to counterfeit products and price gouging to prevent their customers from being defrauded.
  • Steve Blanco, President of MSA Safety, talks about how they cleared regulatory hurdles to quickly bring new PPE products to the market.
  • Wells Bullard, CEO of Bullard, shares how they had to ramp up capacity for PPE air purifiers to meet the demands for a consumer market.
  • Sheila Eads, CEO at ERB Industries, explores how every crisis is different and the importance for being ready for the next event.

“In January, we started to see that the scale of this epidemic was something we’d never seen before, and we knew at that point as an industry that more would have to be done than had ever been done before to step up production and to address supply scarcities,” Wp Health Care News explained in the video.

The story of how the PPE industry achieved that feat is both exciting and rewarding for anyone concerned not only with the responses to this pandemic, but also looking ahead to the work America and other nations need to do to advance their preparedness and resilience in advance of future public-health emergencies.

ISEA is launching a resource page spotlighting the video to educate industry leaders, suppliers, employers, and the public about the important progress the safety industry has made during COVID-19. They are also asking public officials and citizens to get involved, calling for the federal government to replenish federal and state emergency stockpiles and to help fight fake, fraudulent, and counterfeit PPE.

“It’s about keeping people safe,” said Johnson. “And that’s what we as an industry will continue to do.”

Visit PPEprepared.org to see “Beyond the Mask” today.

About ISEA

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is the trade association in the U.S. for personal protective equipment and technologies. Its member companies are world leaders in the design, manufacture, testing, and distribution of protective clothing and equipment used in factories, construction sites, hospitals and clinics, farms, schools, laboratories, emergency response, and in the home. Since 1933, ISEA has set the standard for the personal protective equipment industry, supporting member companies united in the goal of protecting the health and safety of people worldwide.