LONG GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- A west suburban pet health company is changing its focus during a time of need and helping first responders in the process.
PetAirapy's ultraviolet sanitizing units are being used to keep ambulances clean and in service to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
"We're at war. We have to get this killed off instantly, immediately so we can get this mitigated and get control over it," said PetAirapy CEO and Founder Annette Uda.
After more than a decade working to sanitize pet hospitals & doggie daycares with her company, Uda is bringing her mobile UV radiation technology to first responders.
"Now we know that we can protect our first responders who are putting their lives on the line every single day and we know that they're trying to help us," she said.
The units, which look like metal cylinders with high intensity UV lights, work by blasting high intensity UV-C radiation through the air and on surfaces. It can damage viral and bacterial DNA when it makes contact.
"Then we've got that thing dead. There's nothing it can do to infect anymore," Uda said.
Similar technology is being used in hospitals in Chicago and around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"UV light damages cells to the point where cells can die," said one Nebraska hospital official. "(It) inactivates the virus so that it can't infect anyone else."
PetAirapy is one of the companies shifting its focus to meet new needs with technology during the pandemic.
"When we go though and sanitize (ambulances) it's done by wipes," said Long Grove Fire Protecting District Battalion Chief Marc Small. "So we'll spray everything down and then wipe everything and at times, you might miss something."
And that takes time. Uda said her data shows the mobile UV unit can fully sanitize an ambulance in as little as 5 minutes.
"That just speeds up our turnaround times. We're able to take an advance life support vehicle and get it back into service much quicker," Chief Small said.
PetAirapy said it is offering free mobile sanitizing to any first responder mobile units that come to their location in St. Charles at 3820 Ohio Avenue, Unit 9, St. Charles, IL.
West suburban ultraviolet sanitizing company shifts focus to help coronavirus first responders