Pantex Fire Department using new tools during COVID-19
Members of the Pantex Fire Department install a Biocell Ambulance Protective System. Please note: the photo was taken prior to the COVID‑19 face covering guidance.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pantex Fire Department explored new ways to protect fire department personnel and plant employees.
The general practice to protect the patient compartment in the ambulance is to line it with plastic, so the PXFD invested in 3 BioCells – a preformed plastic cocoon placed in the patient compartment of an ambulance that can be used effectively with suspected COVID patients.
“It was designed for highly contagious pathogens such as Ebola, and we can use it for a COVID-19 response if necessary” Emory Johnson, PXFD Assistant Chief said. “The secondary use is for radiologically contaminated patients.”
The one time use device can be rolled up and placed in a box for disposal keeping the patient compartment free of contaminates.
In addition to the BioCells for ambulances, the PXFD is also taking extra measures for disinfection and sanitation of their station and equipment. The PXFD houses a shift of about 20 firefighters and the Emergency Service Dispatch Center and Operations Center.
“Because personnel at the fire department are in such close proximity to each other, disinfection of the station is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Johnson said.
The fire department has a hypochlorous acid machine on order. These machines are used by the cruise ship industry, food preparers and the livestock industry to disinfect areas that are suspect.
To fill the gap, the fire department is using quaternary ammonium which is another disinfectant deployed by using a paint sprayer hooked to a self-contained breathing apparatus - making it portable.
“The fire station is disinfected several times a day – all common areas including the kitchen, bathrooms, door handles,” Johnson said. “It is also used to disinfect the patient compartment in the ambulance and other fire equipment after every call.
Johnson also said personnel are required to wear masks when inside the building and social distancing is enforced.
The fire station is disinfected several times a day. Please note: the photo was taken prior to the COVID‑19 face covering guidance.