In the fight against COVID-19, having the right personal protective equipment (PPE) can mean the difference between being infected with the virus or not. Veolia North America's Vice President of Corporate Health and Safety Mike Richter, a 32-year employee with a master’s degree in public health, understands that and is making sure that the company's stockpile of surgical masks is donated to hospitals that need them to keep patients and healthcare workers safe.
About 12 years ago, when a bird flu virus spread across Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, Veolia Water decided it would be a good idea to stock up on masks. After all, Veolia provides essential services to customers, such as producing drinking water and safely disposing of hazardous and infectious wastes. So, for the past decade, Veolia has kept a strategic stockpile of masks in safe storage for the day they would be needed.
Unfortunately, that day is here. Richter is in the process of coordinating the delivery of 40,000 surgical masks to hospitals in New York City; Houston; Philadelphia; Albuquerque, N.M.; Colton, Calif.; and Montreal. Veolia became keenly aware of the need for masks from several hospitals and nonprofit organizations caring for the sick and elderly.
“The need for surgical masks is so great at the present time that we’re seeing press reports of seamstresses, dry cleaners and quilters sewing masks using fabric remnants. We’re glad we can do our part to provide this crucial PPE to support patients and medical professionals who need it most,” said Richter.
The masks are being shipped for delivery as soon as possible.