July '20

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RV PRO SPECIAL SECTION July 2020 • RV PRO • 33 SylvanSport Adds PPE to Production Mix Outdoor gear company SylvanSport has integrated an entirely new line into its usual production of tents, campers, trailers and outdoor gear. While still offering tents and trailers for portable triage and assessment vehicles, the Brevard, N.C.-based company fully integrated the production of face shields, protective counter guards, and foot-activated door openers into its facility in order to meet the growing demand for PPE that is critical in the fight against COVID-19. SylvanSport's first priority for distribution started within the immediate region of western North Carolina, including both frontline health care workers and first responders, as well as essential businesses which need to protect both their employees and visitors or clients. Efforts expanded to respond to demand. "We recognize that many businesses must remain open and in doing so, now have an obligation to provide pro- tection for both their employees and clients and visitors," says Tom Dempsey, CEO of SylvanSport. "In addition to the face shields already in use by first responders in the area, the protective counter guards and foot-activated door openers are additional tools that any essential business can quickly deploy to protect their employees." SylvanSport also was able to source coated and uncoated Tyvek suits, as well as surgical masks. The com- pany is taking orders for both PPE and outdoor gear via its website. When the COVID-19 crisis began to threaten not only his business, but his community, Dempsey stepped up without hesitation to integrate new products into the mix. Dempsey points to a team of talented designers and engineers who were able to quickly design and begin pro- duction on disposable face masks, foot-activated door openers, and counter guards. According to Dempsey, this transition from outdoor gear to PPE was a fairly smooth one because he has a background as an FDA-approved medical device manufacturer, is a multi-patent holder, and knows his way around international supply chains. It was a perfect mix to quickly launch production on entirely new product lines. What many are calling a fluid situation has Dempsey taking a longer term look at how to prepare for the future. "We're certainly focused on how to return to our normal outdoor gear operations," says Dempsey. "But I also see this as an investment in the future. When this immediate crisis is over, we may need to maintain a certain level of PPE for future use, ensuring supply levels are never again as low as they were when this whole thing began." KOA Partners with RVs 4 MDs An ad hoc national volunteer service RVs 4 MDs has captured social media by storm in its efforts to connect health care workers with RV owners as a means to social distance themselves from their loved ones. The Facebook group was created by a Dallas-area woman whose husband, an ER doctor, was concerned to return home from a shift and risk infecting the family, so she explored other means to keep him and their family safe during this time. With many available campgrounds throughout North America, Kampgrounds of America has recently announced its partnership with the group to provide medical personnel seeking accommodations in efforts of practicing responsible social distancing. With this new partnership, KOA owners can opt in to provide free sites to RVs 4 MDs to which RVs 4 MDs coordinators will match a medical provider to a unit, as well as a campground in their area. Due to local, state or provincial restrictions placed on camping, some KOA parks are unable to participate for the moment. SylvanSport quickly adjusted its operations to manufacturer PPE for health care workers.

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