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Something meant to save your life in a car crash is being used to make hospital gowns

With hospitals in need of personal protective equipment to keep medical workers safe, Ford is using airbag material.

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Company says it is ramping up its production of personal protective equipment for medical professionals. That includes making hospital gowns from airbag material that can be washed and re-used up to 50 times.

Ford said it is working with airbag supplier Joyson Safety Systems to cut and sew up to 100,000 gowns per week, reaching 1.3 million by July 4. 

Ford said it worked with Beaumont Health in Metro Detroit to design a gown pattern and test it for sizing. More than 5,000 gowns have already been delivered.

The gowns are self-tested to federal standards and are washable up to 50 times, according to Ford.

Credit: Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is working with airbag supplier Joyson Safety Systems to make reusable medical gowns for COVID-19 response.

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Ford's efforts include working with 3M to increase the output of Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) and N95 respirators. The company also said it is now manufacturing face masks for company use and is working to get certification to produce medical-use masks at its Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Michigan.

Ford said it has made more than 3 million face shields for medical personnel and first responders.

The company said it expects to start manufacturing ventilators next week in collaboration with GE. The goal is to produce 50,000 by July 4.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older people and the infirm, it can cause severe symptoms and lead to death.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.