UV air cleaning technology comes to Mundelein Fire Department

Mark Rivera Image
Friday, August 7, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

"We can shower, we can decontaminate, but the air quality was a very important concern."

MUNDELEIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Jet Blue, New York public transit and others are using UV Light technology to help sanitize their spaces.

Now, that unique technology is coming to first responders in the northern suburbs.

Whether you're flying Jet Blue, taking a ride on the New York MTA or a sleep break during your shift at the Mundelein Fire Department, UV technology is now part of the plan to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.

"We can't just spray chemicals in a room and leave for three hours. We have to be able to live in these spaces. So, the UV technology was essential," saidMundelein Fire DepartmentDeputy Chief Darren Brents.

Brents said this tech is a vital part of keeping his firefighters healthy during the pandemic as numbers continue to rise in Lake County, Illinois.

"We started facing every single call as a potential Covid patient," he said.

They've installed a UV air disinfectant device in their bunk room that uses a fan to shoot air through intense ultraviolet light it's an effort, "to address that viral load that can happen every single night when you put people in a room together," Brents said.

UV radiation can clean air by damaging germ DNA.

According to the CDC, the light works on the molecular level. It can damage germ DNA, making the germ itself inert.

"If we can get that air moving upward and we can suck it up we can get into that UV zone, we can mitigate and start to kill off a lot of those pathogens quicker," said Annette Uda, President of St. Charles based Aerapy.

Her company makes and has studied the effectiveness of their UV technology.

"For us, it was very important to be able to make sure we were able to reduce that viral load," she said.

Brents said UV technology isn't a replacement for surface cleaning, but part of a multi-pronged approach to stop the spread of the virus.

"We can shower, we can decontaminate, but the air quality was a very important concern," said Jeremy Lockwood, Mundelein Fire Infection Control Officer.