Simms Fishing Products, a manufacturer of waders, outerwear, footwear, and technical fishing apparel, began production this week on much needed medical gowns for the Bozeman Health Medical Group. Simms’ wader manufacturing facility, also located in Bozeman, Mont., has the capital resources, equipment and technical capabilities to help supply the high-demand products at a time when shortages related to COVID-19 have depleted access to similar disposable items.
As soon as the coronavirus pandemic began to escalate in the U.S., members of Simms’ leadership team partnered with Bozeman Health Group to identify opportunities for Simms to help. With many other local businesses and individuals already hard at work producing masks, Simms shifted its focus to design, develop, and begin manufacturing medical gowns for hospital personnel and staff.
“It’s been absolutely amazing to see so many companies, small business owners and individuals rise to the occasion and pitch in to help our local community here in Bozeman,” said Fred Dennis, Simms Senior Director of Apparel Design and Development. “The gowns we are producing truly fall into our core-competency. We have the material, equipment and an expert team of sewers ready and willing to make the gowns.”
Simms’ product team completed an inventory of on-site fabric and identified a technical 3-layer waterproof, breathable material that meets the requirements agreed upon with hospital officials. With the fabric on hand, Simms was able to produce and deliver gowns to Bozeman Health Group the same week they began production. Simms anticipates additional demand for protective gowns from other medical providers and is actively communicating their capabilities in an effort to maximize their impact.
Simms is taking every precaution necessary to ensure a production environment that follows CDC guidelines in order to keep its staff safe. Sewing machines have been spaced farther apart, the factory is being thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis and tools and equipment are being disinfected between every shift.
“In order to combat the shortage of protective gowns, it is critical for our brand to play a part in assisting the American people during this difficult time,” said Casey Sheahan, Simms CEO. “It’s been so inspiring to see all the brands in the outdoor industry repurposing their facilities, equipment, and skills to help those in need. We are thrilled to deliver the first run of gowns to the Bozeman Health Group and hope our efforts of support can extend beyond our local community to help others around the entire country.”