Since 1919, the LaMotte Company, originally located in Baltimore, has been known for providing quality equipment and guidance for water analysis. Today, the company designs and manufactures reagents, instruments and test kits in Chestertown. But by the end of March, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, LaMotte team members began discussing how they could help the community during this unexpected crisis. The outcome? Hand sanitizer for UM Shore Regional Health and other local organizations!
“We are deeply grateful for the donation of hand sanitizer for our home care nurses,” said Trish Focht, manager, UM Shore Home Care and Chester River Home Care. “LaMotte is truly helping our front-line health care workers stay safe during this pandemic.”
According to Andy Glenn, LaMotte’s Operational Excellence Manager, the production of hand sanitizer was a logical choice, since the company already produces liquid reagents for use in water testing. As internal discussions got under way, the LaMotte Company was asked by the Kent County Office of Emergency Services if they could produce hand sanitizer for the county’s volunteer fire and rescue companies, and the Chester River Health Foundation sent a request for donations of items, including hand sanitizer, to UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown.
Within a week and half, LaMotte chemists and technicians were able to make a few small 10 liter batches, and later moved to producing 100 liter batches. In less than a month, LaMotte has supplied the Kent County EMS, the UM Shore Medical Centers at Chestertown and Easton, UM Chester River Home Care, UM Shore Home Care, and other local health care, public safety and social service organizations with sanitizer.
Glenn is pleased with his team’s ability to accomplish so much, so quickly. “We are fortunate that we have been able to use our essential status to provide needed supplies to our neighbors on the front lines of this pandemic and to make a real difference in our community. I was proud that the team was able to come together, without reservation, and each use their unique skill sets to move this project from conception to reality in less than 10 days,” said Glenn.
The actual making and bottling of sanitizer was not difficult, he explained. “The hard part was getting to that point. Since we don’t normally make sanitizer, our R&D group had to research a formula and determine how to verify alcohol content, while Regulatory Affairs had to undertake a tremendous amount of paperwork to register our facility with the FDA. Our Creative Services team created a brand new label. Additionally, when it was manufactured, considerations had to be taken due to the flammability of the alcohol, so it was made and poured in a well ventilated, clean area.”
According to Lydia Johnson, LaMotte chemist, the team would like to continue producing hand sanitizer throughout the health crisis, as the supply of alcohol, which is limited, permits. “I was happy to contribute in my small way to support those on the front lines and only wish the materials were more readily available so we could do more,” commented Johnson.