County personnel deploy system to decontaminate emergency vehicles, road department equipment
Essential personnel with Warren County’s Road Department and volunteer fire departments now have the comfort of knowing the vehicles and equipment they are operating will continue to be decontaminated thanks to equipment purchased this week.
Warren County Fire/EMS Coordinator Jerry Briggs on Wednesday demonstrated a sprayer and apparatus purchased to decontaminate county vehicles, emergency vehicles and any equipment with a closed-in cab. The move is to better protect those employees and emergency personnel from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Briggs said the process was completed on some of the county’s fire trucks during scheduled pump tests.
“The equipment was originally built for fighting mosquitoes. It is carried on your back and has a reservoir that sprays a mist into the air and allows different settings to adjust the percentage of any solution,” Briggs said. “This is used more in the hazardous material industry and we thought that it would be ideal for us, for the county, our ambulances, fire trucks and any of our vehicles for our frontline responders.”
Even though the personnel with the county’s road department are not in as much risk of contracting the virus as responders, they are continuing to perform crucial work and repairs throughout the county.
“You don’t suspect anything with those working with the road department, but we are doing it for peace of mind more than anything,” Briggs said, adding that all of the equipment that has a closed-in cab, such as vehicles and road graders, has been treated.
Briggs said one process for decontaminating the vehicle includes spraying the mist inside and then turning on the vehicle’s air conditioning system to recirculate air. The doors are then closed and the mist is allowed to circulate through the vehicle and its air filters for at least 10 minutes.
Briggs said the county was able to purchase the equipment with funds allocated for the fire departments thanks to relaxed rules by state officials.
“Before all of this, we would not have been able to use those funds for something like this,” he said. “But, given this is now part of our process to make sure our fire departments can continue to respond safely, then we were able to justify the purchase.”