Burton Snowboards, the world-renowned snowboard company based in Burlington, Vermont, has announced it is donating half a million KN95 respirator masks to healthcare workers in the Northeast.
In a press release today, company officials said that to address the unprecedented personal protective equipment supply shortage and help keep frontline responders safe, Burton quickly mobilized its supply chain to rapidly source and produce the specialized masks in China.
The first 48,000 KN95 respirator masks have been delivered and will be distributed to hospitals across the state of Vermont, where Burton is headquartered, and to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, where the late Jake Burton Carpenter spent two months of his life in the ICU battling Miller Fisher Syndrome in 2015.
The additional 452,000 masks are expected to arrive over the course of the next 10 to 14 days. The Vermont State Emergency Operations Center, with oversight and support from the Vermont Governor’s office, will also deliver 50 percent of the 500,000 total masks to designated hospitals in Boston and New York City where the need is the greatest.
“It is a national disgrace that the medical supply chain in this country has not been federalized and that states are competing for desperately needed supplies,” said Donna Carpenter, Chair of the Board at Burton. “This fundamental failure of federal leadership in our greatest hour of need will inevitably cause more pain, suffering and loss of precious life. That being said, it’s an honor to be able to quickly mobilize Burton’s supply chain to help the doctors, nurses and other selfless professionals who are saving lives right here in the Northeast.”
Carpenter continued, “My family cherishes the compassionate doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals who saved my husband’s life at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 2015 and also those who cared for him at the University of Vermont Medical Center where he received cancer treatments and end of life care. Jake and I both grew up just outside of New York City, and to hear the stories about lack of personal protective equipment available to frontline workers in those areas is heartbreaking. I wish we could do more, but I’m glad we could make a bit of a difference right here in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York by donating half a million KN95 masks.”
Burton enlisted its longest-standing snowboard binding factory partner, Fudakin, to source the critical gear from China and UPS Express to move the supplies to the United States.
“This incredibly generous donation from Burton Snowboards is greatly appreciated and on behalf of all Vermonters, I want to thank Donna and the entire company,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Protecting our frontline healthcare workers is not only the right thing to do, it is critical to our effort to face, fight and defeat this pandemic together. This is a prime example of how Vermonters are rising to the occasion and uniting around a common purpose during these unprecedented times.”
Burton officials say the company has a fierce commitment to doing business as a force for good and that Burton is constantly looking for new ways to help the crisis the world is facing, both as a company and as individuals. With medical masks in short-supply, dozens of employees are sewing fabric face masks from home that will be donated to area medical professionals.
The company has also kicked-off a production effort to make medical face shields for local healthcare workers. The face shields are being manufactured at Burton’s Rapid Prototype Facility in Burlington, Vermont during the month of April, with a goal of producing 500 per week to be distributed to the University of Vermont Medical Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital employees.
Additionally, Anon, Burton’s helmet and goggle division, is working with GogglesforDocs.com to provide snow goggles to medical professionals in need of eye protection. To date, they have donated over 1,300 goggles. The brand has also set up a bin outside of Burton HQ in Burlington, Vermont and urges anyone who can to donate their used goggles, which will go through a quarantine process before being distributed.