TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- In the fight against COVID-19, every ventilator the U.S. Army can get working is another life potentially saved.
That’s why Army biomedical equipment specialists around the globe are tirelessly turning their wrenches to repair and return ventilators to military hospitals and medical units, in support of the whole-of-government’s COVID-19 response.
“We’re taking the vents, calibrating them, putting in needed parts, doing a thorough inspection and sending them back out with all the accessories and consumables so they are ready for use right out of the box,” said Tom Fortner, a technician assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency’s medical maintenance division at Tobyhanna Army Depot.
USAMMA, a direct reporting unit of Army Medical Logistics Command, has three stateside depot-level maintenance facilities, each covering a geographical region. MMOD-Toby handles the East region, while MMOD-Hill, located at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, covers the Central region. MMOD-Tracy in California takes care of the West.
Army medical maintenance teams at each location are prioritizing not only the calibration and repair of ventilators, but also oxygen generators, suction apparatus and patient monitors to support COVID-19 response efforts.
Fortner said the teams have been turning these devices around in record time. He said some devices that only need minor fixes or checks are repaired and returned in just hours.
Once ready to ship, the delivery process can go just as quickly. For example, a recent shipment of ventilators back to the Georgia Air National Guard went out on a Friday evening and were in use in the hospital by Sunday morning.
The team has been handling the added workload with great efficiency, according to Fortner.
“We have a pretty good little system going,” Fortner said. “It’s definitely kudos to them.”
“I’m proud to see the continued teamwork, sense of pride and urgency shown by our employees at the MMOD’s during this response to COVID-19,” said Jack Rosarius, director of USAMMA’s Medical Maintenance Management Directorate. “Their work continues to be appreciated and essential in the Army’s battle of this health crisis.”