Due to the shortage of N95 mask, and the inability to get them, Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton took $200.00 of his personal funds and instructed his staff to purchase cloth, elastic bands, felt, and thread at Wal-Mart.
Sheriff Singleton instructed the Jail Administrator, Captain James Wise, to have inmates who were assigned to the Jail’s Laundry and take care of mending of jail uniforms to start making cloth masks, which will be given to detention officers and office personnel.
The mask is made by using two pieces of cloth and a piece of felt approximately 9”x 12” then the two pieces of elastic are sewn together and pressed by an iron to make three folding lines.
Handmade masks are far from ideal, but as N95 masks and surgical masks are in short supply, handmade masks will be used to extend the life of medical-grade masks, which would typically be disposed of after seeing a single person. In some cases, where there’s an even greater shortage, homemade masks are being used as a primary form of protection.
The homemade are better than nothing and will help our detention personnel and deputies until we can obtain masks on the open market. Their purpose is to keep a barrier between officers and persons who are coughing and sneezing during the normal course of their official duties.
We do have a very limited N95 mask supply and other personal protection equipment due to the current need of first responders and health care facilities.
For your health and the health of our detention personnel, deputies and all first responders, please follow the guidelines from the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health.
Staying home through self-quarantine, frequently and thoroughly washing your hands, and practicing appropriate social distancing are the best ways to lower the risk of exposure for you, your family and our County.
James A. Singleton, Sheriff