Roberts Oxygen truck

Roberts Oxygen Delivers in the Clutch for Maryland Hospitals and COVID-19 Patients Through FEMA Contract

Roberts Oxygen, a family owned distributor of compressed industrial, medical and specialty gases, cryogenic gases and equipment was there when BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) hospitals needed them most. 

With COVID-19 cases flooding local hospitals, the demand for the medical-grade oxygen surged nearly overnight. The state of Maryland was seeking a supplier partner to quickly deliver medical-grade oxygen to temporary hospital tents in the state. The state partnered with Roberts Oxygen, which has its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, to meet this sudden uptick in demand. 

Founded in 1966 and with 50 locations up and down the east coast, Roberts Oxygen quickly pivoted, leveraging its fleet of vehicles and ample inventory of cylinders and medical-grade oxygen to meet this spike in oxygen need.

The company was contacted by the state on March 31, as the coronavirus started to significantly impact the region, and hospitals began constructing 14-16 bed overflow tents to treat patients. The company was tasked with delivering large, high-pressure oxygen cylinders and liquid oxygen cylinders to 25 hospital sites totaling 44 tents across Maryland. Just 10 days after contracting with the state, Roberts Oxygen began delivering 36 high-pressure cylinders and 2 liquid cylinders to each of the tents as they were constructed across Maryland. 

However, the biggest challenge for Roberts Oxygen was outfitting the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, which has been converted into a 500 bed, low acuity COVID-19 patient alternate care site. Washington D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser recently unveiled the new facility, which was the result of a collaboration among approximately a dozen local and federal agencies.

Roberts Oxygen mustered its resources and team and was able to quickly supply two bulk storage tanks to meet the demand to supply medical-grade oxygen to the patients who will eventually be treated at the new alternate care facility.

Bulk tanks at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“Medical oxygen is regulated as a drug and our products are of the highest quality,” stated Scott Van Pelt, Roberts Oxygen’s Vice President of Sales. “The liters per minute that some high-flow COVID-19 patients consume is very high. Our team of delivery drivers are phenomenal, hardworking people that are out there every day doing their part to get hospitals what they need to care for seriously ill people in our community. We have about 33 trucks on the road just in the D.C.-metro area and they really take great care of our hospital customers and provide them with outstanding service.”

Roberts Oxygen has four focus areas, including Medical-Biotech, Universities, Beverage CO2, and Industrial “Cutting and Welding” clients. With restaurants and businesses closed due to the pandemic, the company focused its drivers and fleet of trucks on the temporary hospital tent projects, as well as keeping biotech labs and other essential businesses going. 

The organization has kept its entire team employed doing this important work for the community.

Serving the community has always been important to the Roberts family that founded the company and continues to run the business. Performing this essential COVID-19 work is a natural extension of the company’s deep history of taking care of its customers and building long-term relationships based on trust and mutual respect. This focus on community and responsiveness to customer needs is not only evident in the D.C. region, but is also found at the company’s other locations found across nine states.

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“We had the assets on hand to help. Many companies don’t want inventory sitting around, but the Roberts family has always made sure we had the inventory just in case we needed it. They always focus on doing the right thing and making sure at the end of the day the customers are taken care of,” stated Van Pelt.

Roberts Oxygen has been serving the D.C. area community for more than fifty years. And in that time, no mission has been more important and more in line with the company’s values than its ongoing, heroic work supplying the materials needed to help COVID-19 patients and families across the BHCR.

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