With the help of volunteers, Portland couple Chet Jordan and Jessica Takatsuki-Jordan have set a goal of making hundreds of masks for medical workers and other essential employees. Courtesy / Jessica Takatsuki-Jordan

PORTLAND — Since 2017, Backwoods BMP has made protective equipment such as bumpers for snowmobiles. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Scarborough company is now mass producing another kind of protection: face masks.

Owner and Portland resident Chet Jordan and his wife, Jessica Takatsuki-Jordan, a physical therapist at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, launched The Maine Mask early in April and they have been churning out between 300 and 800 masks a day.

Chet Jordan and Jessica Takatsuki-Jordan have the capability to produce 300-800 masks a day. Courtesy / Jessica Takatsuki-Jordan

Jordan said he never imagined he would be using his equipment that way, but after hearing about the shortage of protective masks for healthcare workers like his wife, slightly modifying his equipment and tinkering with mask designs, he was compelled to help.

“If it wasn’t for Jess’ experiences and watching the news and hearing about the shortage of (personal protective equipment), you wouldn’t have caught me making masks, that’s for sure,” Jordan said.

Created by injection molding, the masks can be customized to an individual’s face and sanitized between uses. They are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and are not to be considered as a replacement for N95 respirator masks. However, the mask design it’s based on, the Montana Mask, has been clinically tested by the two doctors and the microbiologist who created it.

The masks created by Jordan and Takasuki-Jordan are offered free to healthcare workers and other employees in essential businesses.

“Conditions are only going to get better if we can get the number (of cases) down,” Jordan said.

The Maine Mask is funded by Backwoods BMP and AAA Energy Services in Scarborough.

Chad Everett, service manager for AAA Energy Services, said the office was happy to do its part to help The Maine Mask effort.

Each mask comes with five filters and can be customized to an individual’s face. Courtesy / Jessica Takatsuki-Jordan

“We are business neighbors. We gave them a donation to help out and help them source some material for the cause,” Everett said while putting together an order of 100 masks for AAA Energy Services employees.

Takatsuki-Jordan said she and Jordan typically spend four to five hours after work working on the masks.

Jordan said The Maine Mask has fielded requests from medical facilities in New York and as far away as Texas and was preparing to bring some masks to construction workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Takatsuki-Jordan said her employer, Maine Medical Center, has “done a good job” making sure employees have adequate access to personal protective equipment, and she’s not aware of a local need for the masks she and her husband are producing.

Jordan said he and Takatsuki-Jordan want to help no matter where the masks are going.

“We will continue to push the masks out as long as there is a need. We don’t plan on stopping anytime soon,” Jordan said.

Takatsuki-Jordan said all of this would not be possible without the team of people who have volunteered to help the cause, many of whom are her colleagues at the hospital.

“I think that speaks volumes about healthcare workers and the compassion they have,” she said.

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