FAIRMONT, W.Va. – 4D Tech Solutions in Fairmont is a local engineering company that is doing its part to give back to those responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

4D Tech Solutions is creating masks for the National Guard that are reusable, and give a person the ability to interchange the filter. The design came from a doctor in Montana, who shared it with engineers all over the country, so they could provide a better protective mask for people who are possibly exposed to the virus.

This mask is engineered to last longer because you can easily switch the filter, when it gets to be overused. Mechanical Engineer at 4D Tech Solutions, Matt Bartrug, said they are willing to do all they can to help.

“If it’s something we can do to help, in this interesting time, we definitely want to do it. It’s just how we are,” said Bartrug. “It’s what our culture is here at 4d tech. If we can help, we want to help and we have worked with the National Guard in the past. We’re a veteran-owned business, so it hits very close to home for us.”

The company has made 17 masks since Monday, when they were cleared to start making them. It has almost two weeks worth of supplies now, but because the demand is so high for the national guard, medical workers, emergency response teams and more; it will continue to order new supplies and keep putting these masks together as long as it is able to.

The short supply of materials to make masks has led to personnel being exposed to COVID-19. Marion County Emergency and Rescue Squad recognizes that something as simple as going to the grocery store, can lead to exposure to the virus and that everyone should be aware and cautious to stay safe.

“It’s important to keep our germs to ourselves,” said Joanna McBee, Public Relation Director for Marion County Emergency and Rescue Squad. “If you’re out and about in the grocery store, if you’re passing by somebody, and don’t mean to get so close to them, at least a mask will protect you from them, and them from you.”

For the public fabric and general surgical masks will work for protecting someone from the virus. For anyone who is possibly exposed to COVID-19 daily, it is much harder to provide the proper masks to protect them, because the supplies are finite right now.

Emergency personnel want to remind people to work together and to be wise about caring for masks. Wearing a mask will keep someone safer than without one, and it is the first line of defense from the virus, but if supplies run out to make these masks, then everyone will be affected.