Domtar donates respirators to help with COVID-19 care

The employees of Domtar Corporation donated PAPRs, powered air purifying respirators, to Penn Highlands Healthcare to be used by staff during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Johnsonburg mill employees gave up their own equipment and kept enough to cover a crew in case of an emergency. Shown are the maintenance employees, from left, Chad Hefright, Darryl Hanes, Aaron Stahli, Mark Lenox, Justin Feikls and Dave Redmond holding the PAPR helmets.

Domtar Corporation made a donation of 27 PAPRs to Penn Highlands Healthcare to help doctors, nurses and other staff prepare to provide care for COVID-19 patients.

PAPRs are powered air purifying respirators, and they are used in hospitals by staff who work with patients with confirmed or suspected illnesses that can be spread through the air. One such illness is COVID-19.

We are so appreciative of Domtar’s very generous donation,” Cloyd Geedey, Vice President of Supply Chain Management for Penn Highlands Healthcare, said. “They and their employees have stepped up for Penn Highlands and the communities we serve. It is truly a kind gesture from the company and its employees.”

Domtar, which operates a paper mill in Johnsonburg and a converting center in DuBois, designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of pulp, paper and personal care products. The Domtar Johnsonburg paper mill, which donated the PAPRs, has the personal preventive equipment, PPE, on hand as a precaution. Mill employees may need to move chemicals in the plant, and they may have a need for the PAPRs.

Every maintenance employee in the mill is issued a PAPR,” Mike Porter, Pulp and Power Maintenance Superintendent for Domtar in Johnsonburg, said. Those employees gave up their personal equipment to donate to the staff at Penn Highlands,” he said. The mill kept what they it needed to cover a crew in case of an emergency, but the rest, they felt, were needed more by healthcare workers.

When we spoke with our general manager, Greg Linscott, he was on board immediately with the donation,” Tony Casilio, Environmental Health and Safety Manager at Domtar said. “As they say, it was a no-brainer…it’s about helping our neighbors.”

PAPRs look like bicycle helmets with clear plastic face shields. What makes them work is hidden inside the helmet – a computer-controlled fan, LED indicators and a filter.

The fan at the top of the helmet, which runs by battery, pulls air in. The air flows through a filter to eliminate any germs that may be in the air. The clean air is then passed down in front of the wearer’s face.

To be sure no unfiltered air gets in, the helmet constantly blows cleaned air down and out. This makes it easier to breath than with some other apparatuses. It also prevents heat buildup, and the plastic face masks should not fog.

The constant air flow keeps the wearer cool and protected,” Casilio said. Something the staff at PHH can appreciate.

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