Let’s make Personal Protection Equipment for Hawaii

Our main COVID-19 page – constantly updated

Is your facility looking for Personal Protection Equipment?

While this is a time of uncertainty, hospitals, hospices, and community health providers are preparing for shortages in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

If you are an organization that is in need of PPE, we encourage you to sign on www.GetUsPPE.org as a “I need PPE” facility. This website is a national database created “by people in medicine on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Do you want to help by sewing masks or creating other materials for local agencies here in Hawai‘i? 

Kōkua Mau will be coordinating with our movement and our members to reach out to crafting communities, sewing circles, and any volunteers who want to support our Medical community right here in our islands. If you would like to help, like sew masks, contact us and we can help connect you with local agencies (or you can go onto getusppe.org.)

How to do this right?

We have identified a pattern for an effective mask that will help health care workers, before we run out of masks in the islands. A local scientist has researched all of the many options out there and narrowed it down the best pattern, working with emergency medicine physicians.

Watch the surgeon walk you through step by step. This is the easiest to make mask that will work for most people.

Dr. Streicher demonstrates how to sew a surgical mask. For detailed instructions and more information, go to: A Surgeon’s Guide to Sewing a Surgical Mask.

Please scroll down on her blog for her video where she shows how to make the masks step-by-step. (Sorry, we can not embed her video here, because of its settings)

A Surgeon Sews a Surgical Mask from Lauren Streicher on Vimeo (better video quality).

Dr. Lauren Streicher is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school, The Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.

Feedback from the team in Hawai‘i

Please note you can use ties made from the same material instead of elastic, and those are actually more comfortable. You can use a pipe-cleaner or padded wire instead of the wired ribbon that she uses in the video.

This cloth mask is about 80% as good as a real surgical mask. It is comfortable. It also works well as an N95 respirator cover, which is consistent with the current CDC guidelines to extend the use of N95 respirators.

We are currently using closely woven cotton, which is essentially like a cotton bed sheet. Washing is done in hot water with detergent, then in a dryer. Here is a link to the different materials that can be used:

Please check back on this website. As everything in these strange time there are constant changes and as soon as we find e.g. more or better materials, we will post it here.


Masks4HI are medical students and members of the community that want to do their part to protect Hawaii’s healthcare workers. Their mission is to ensure that our nurses, doctors, technicians, and other essential members of the healthcare team have the appropriate personal protective equipment. They keep us healthy—we keep them safe.