Respirators maintenance

FCA expands efforts to combat Covid-19

Adaptation, agility and solidarity drive FCA measures against the epidemic in Brazil and Argentina.

October 8, 2020 - On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Covid-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus, was now a pandemic. Worldwide, companies interrupted or reduced their activities, schools and universities closed. Public authorities and the civil society were trying to organize themselves to reduce contagion, avoid the burden on hospitals and save lives. In this context, during the first days of the pandemic, FCA initiated a broad and consistent program to support the measures underway at the federal, state and municipal levels to overcome the serious crisis resulting from the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil. It’s all part of an effort coupled with FCA's commitment to being an active and present corporate citizen within the communities.

Given the risk to employees and the society as a whole, the company's first action was to temporarily halt industrial production on March 20 in its Brazilian units. Immediately, FCA created a crisis committee and mobilized resources, structure and expertise from various professionals to take all the possible measures to support the health system and local populations. "Today, unprecedented challenges are being imposed on all of us. We have to adapt, rethink, react and innovate quickly," said Antonio Filosa, FCA's President for Latin America.

Thus, our units within the group began to adapt and transform certain areas for new functions that had never before been imagined, such as repairing pulmonary respirators and producing surgical masks and plastic face shields, as you will see here.

Field Hospitals

To help expand the beds available for treatment, FCA worked on the installation of field hospitals in Minas Gerais and Pernambuco, Brazil, and Córdoba, Argentina.

In Betim (MG), the company provided an area of two thousand square meters of the Fiat Club to set up the hospital, which is administered by the city. The space has 120 infirmary beds, five of which are ICU beds, and a capacity for a total of 200 beds. In Belo Horizonte (MG), FCA helped equip the field hospital set up by the state government at Expominas, with the donation of 449 mattresses and 762 mobile IV holders.

Installed in the Pernambuco's Specialized Care Unit building (UPAE) and built by FCA in the municipality of Goiana (PE) in return for the financing by the National Development Bank (BNDES) for the installation of the Jeep Automotive Plant in the State, the field hospital delivered to the government of Pernambuco has 100 beds, three of them in a red room and equipped with respirators. The fully equipped area has ten offices, a room for sorting out supplies, nursing stations, administrative area and a materials and sterilization center. At the end of the pandemic, the unit will continue its operations. FCA also adapted two Fiat Ducato as ambulances which have been donated to the field hospitals and supported by the company in Betim and Goiana.

Actions in Argentina

FCA provided an area of the Fiat Club in Córdoba and donated 100 beds, 60 screens, mattresses, bedding, pillows and hospital furniture for the construction of the Medical Health Center. The company also lent out more than 50 vehicles to institutions and the government of Córdoba. It also provided financial aid for the construction of a modular hospital in the city of Moreno, in cooperation with the government of the province of Buenos Aires.

The FCA group also financed the production of 10,000 protective masks, in partnership with local companies, to donate to health professionals. In addition, it contributed to the Buenos Aires and Córdoba Food Bank Networks and the Techo organization for the purchase and distribution of hygiene and food kits for underserved sectors. In another action, it distributed more than 4,000 FCA garments through different NGOs in the city of Córdoba.

Task force for recovery of pulmonary ventilators

In the midst of the pandemic, each hospital respirator can save up to ten lives, but many of the units available in Brazil were inoperable. Therefore, FCA in partnership with Senai directed part of its team to repair and recover these devices. Between April and June, the task force composed of employees of the Fiat and Jeep Automotive Plants have repaired more than 100 of the 350 respirators received. In addition to working on repairing equipment, FCA is providing support for Magnamed, the largest manufacturer of pulmonary ventilators in Brazil, and the Ministry of Health, for the manufacture and delivery of 6,500 respirators by August. This increase was made possible thanks to the performance of a group of companies led by Positivo Tecnologia, Suzano, Klabin, Flex and Embraer, and supported by FCA and White Martins, among others.

Production of Surgical Masks and Face Shields

At the Fiat Automotive Plant (MG) and the Campo Largo (PR) engine factory, the 3D printers that were used to produce spare parts for machinery and for the development of components for prototypes were directed towards the manufacturing of face shields, which are being donated to hospitals and health professionals in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco and Paraná. In total, 4,000 masks of the type will be donated, 2,000 of which were provided by New Tech and another 2,000 produced by FCA.

In addition to the face shields, FCA innovated and installed, in partnership with Comau, a surgical mask factory within the Fiat Automotive Plant in Betim. With the expertise of FCA's Manufacturing, Purchasing and Logistics Engineering areas and an investment of R$ 3.5 million, the production unit was installed in less than two months, with the capacity to produce 1.5 million surgical masks per month. Masks are distributed to employees for their protection and part of the production will also be donated to health professionals in Minas Gerais, Pernambuco and São Paulo.

"Once again, our people have invested their time, creativity, solidarity and innovative vein to enable a new industrial operation to work, in an unprecedented record time in our history in Latin America," said Antonio Filosa.

Donations to vulnerable populations

In addition to actions that give direct support for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19, FCA also participated in a solidarity network for the donation of food, water and hygiene kits to homeless populations in Belo Horizonte, Betim and Recife. "We have established strategic alliances and partnerships to be able to meet a vulnerable population with a proper sense of urgency. We seek to integrate into actions that are already being carried out in order to expand the capacity for immediate service," said Marcio Lima, FCA's Director of Legal Affairs for Latin America.

In Minas Gerais, the partnership was with the Associação Nacional Pastoral do Povo da Rua (the National Pastoral Association of the People from the Streets) and chef Massimo Battaglini, who developed the Marmitada Project. In total, 17.9 tons of food were donated in the state, ensuring the production of more than 40,000 meals over six months. In Pernambuco, the partnership was with the NGO AVSI Brazil. A ton of food, 5,250 liters of mineral water and 1,600 hygiene kits have already been delivered to the relief efforts provided by the City of Recife, to the Catholic Association of Samaritans and for the Congregation of the Sisters of Nossa Senhora da Glória.

In São Paulo, the company was part of a group formed by the companies NIVEA, Sabesp, Deep, Instituto Olga Kos and Leo Burnett Tailor Made for the distribution of 230,000 personal hygiene products to 53 institutions in the Metropolitan Region. FCA also supported the São Paulo Solidarity Fund, which donated R$ 1 million for the purchase and distribution of clothing and blankets, in addition to 300,000 surgical masks of own production. The Fund will distribute the items among selected entities throughout the state, under the Winter Solidarity Project.

Resuming Vehicle Production

After implementing a series of measures to ensure the safety of employees, in May FCA began to gradually resume its car production in Brazil and Argentina. To reduce transmission risks, several new protocols have been implemented. All plants and processes have undergone adaptations, based on experiences in Italy and Asia. The company adopted a set of measures to sanitize, reorganize jobs and adapt common spaces. And to decrease the flow of people within the company's units, the home office protocol continues to apply to all administrative workers not directly involved in the production.

In the factories, FCA performs health monitoring using mobile apps, in addition to constant temperature checks. Everything to ensure a safe journey, even with employees’ commute with buses that transport them to the factories, throughout all the activities within the manufacturing plant, all the way to their safe return home, at the end of the day. "People are our most valuable asset here at FCA, so we will remain absolutely vigilant to ensure that production is restored within the best and strictest possible health and safety conditions," Filosa said.

See below the infographic with a summary of FCA's actions in combating the epidemic in Latin America.

Info Covid-19

Words: Luiza Lages

Pictures and videos: Marketing

Art: Fabricio Moura

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