A Vernon company V02 Master, known for its wearable metabolic analyzers, has changed its production to create reusable respirators amid COVID-19 and the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages. (VO2 Master)

COVID-19: Vernon company creates reusable respirators

From athletes to those most at risk, VO2 Master’s adapts production to fill PPE need

A Vernon company is adapting its products to produce a high-grade respiratory mask amid COVID-19, and it’s better for the environment.

VO2 Master typically creates wearable metabolic analyzers for athletes, but as it became clear there were shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers battling the novel coronavirus, CEO Peter O’Brien said he knew his team could help.

“It was out of necessity, really,” he said, describing the quick pivot in production. “It felt like the wrong decision to not do anything.”

O’Brien said the company has a stockpile of filters and are capable of producing 50,000 hours of respirators with materials VO2 Master already has in office.

VO2 Master was already outfitted with 3D printing capabilities and was able to adjust its design to incorporate two filter discs. The first Reusable Respirator was available for sale on Friday, April 3, and interest is growing.

“We have the ability to outfit everyone on the frontlines in B.C.,” he said, noting orders are prioritized for those most at risk.

“It’s a very comfortable mask that won’t cause people pain to wear all day, unlike the N95,” O’Brien said.

N95 masks have a 95 per cent filtration efficiency, while the masks created by VO2 Master are around 99.909 per cent. Cotton masks, he said, are better than nothing and may stop people from touching their face, but they have a filtration rate of around 60 per cent.

Plus, O’Brien said the V02 Master Reusable Respirator doesn’t budge as the masks are designed with athletes in mind.

They are also a greener option compared to the single-use counterparts.

Every piece of the mask can be washed, sanitized and reused. Only filter discs would require replacement.

“China is making millions of masks,” O’Brien said — many of which wind up in the oceans.

The replacement discs are smaller and O’Brien said approximately six filtration discs can be created for every one N95 mask.

This is not something O’Brien imagined he’d be making.

“In early January, I was thinking about it,” he said. “It was like a giant snail really far away on the road — you heard about Wuhan and the outbreak and all the while, I was thinking we could do something to help.”

“(COVID-19) is in B.C. now and we can make a difference here.”

The VO2 Master Reusable Respirator is available online at vo2master.com for $449 and provides more than 200 hours of use per filter package. Replacement filters are just $3, compared to a single-use N95 mask, which costs around $28.

Currently, the company can produce 20 masks a day, but O’Brien said in two weeks time, he’d like to create around 300 a day.

“We don’t have a huge issue with supply,” O’Brien said. “But that may change tomorrow.”

READ MORE: Vernon women spending quarantine making masks

READ MORE: Okanagan craft distillery to supply first responders, organizations with hand sanitizer made from byproducts


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Petition seeks to clean up Okanagan forests ‘carpeted’ with shotgun shells

Penticton man says making shot-gun shells refundable would create cleaner forests

Eco-friendly bus service seeks to add Kelowna to Osoyoos route

Bus would stop in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Penticton, Kaledan, Oliver, Osoyoos

Kelowna trial date set for Penticton quadruple-homicide

John Brittain’s jury trial will commence on Oct 5, 2020 in Kelowna

Small business owner makes big donation to Penticton Food Bank

Across the country, more people are becoming reliant on food bank’s amid COVID-19

COLUMN: The gentle art of the disagreement

Differing opinions can work as a strength

Video: Okanagan mayors encourage water conservation this summer

Water conservation this summer could be more important than ever, experts say

Kelowna’s main drag will be closed to vehicles this summer

Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue will be a pedestrian-only roadway from June 29 through the Labour Day long weekend

Vernon gym knocked out by COVID-19

9Round Fitness in Vernon Square Mall owners announce permanent closure of facility

Snapshot: Distanced dancing in Salmon Arm

Friends use picnic shelter at Blackburn Park for safe practice

Kelowna’s Homebase Baseball Tournament cancelled

A live auction will still take place to raise funds for Joeanna’s House

Kelowna General Hospital Foundation launches fundraising initiative to support local health care

The initiative also highlights workers at Kelowna General Hospital

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Most Read