PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As a nationwide shortage of protective gear for health care workers increases, an unlikely industry is stepping forward to help alleviate the problem.
The masks that doctors and nurses use when treating patients who have contagious diseases are similar to the masks used in the construction industry to protect workers from fine particulate matter.
They are known as N95 masks, and earlier this week, President Donald Trump signed a law that allowed the makers of construction masks to sell them for use in the health care field. Since then, doctors and nurses have taken their plea for more supplies to Twitter. They created #GetMePPE.
"We reached out to our safety supervisor and he had the masks on hand and was able to make a donation," said Keyvan Ghahreman, who is the director of client and preconstruction services at Willmeng.
Desert Valley Pediatrics posted the following message on its Facebook page:
"A HUGE thank you to Willmeng Construction for donating a crucial supply of N95 masks unavailable anywhere. These masks will help support our team and allow us to continue seeing patients during these uncertain times."
"There was a real need and they asked. And I'm happy. We're all happy that we were able to help out in some way," said Ghahreman.
It looks like more help is on its way. The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona is organizing a mask and eyewear drive.
"We are currently asking our trade partners to provide the builders with eye protection and masks that we will then be turning over to the health care providers. The effort started with the White House reaching out to the Leading Builders of America (the high production builders). We are encouraging all of our builders to solicit from their trades for excess eye protection and masks," wrote Connie Wilhelm, who is an executive officer at HBACA.
"We started yesterday and expect to have everything ready to turn over by next Friday," wrote Wilhelm.