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Hillsborough County paramedics find new way to clean ambulances to protect against coronavirus

Paramedics use a device called "AeroClave."
Posted at 9:13 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 23:31:07-05

TAMPA, Fla. -- Hillsborough County paramedics have found an additional way to clean ambulances to protect against coronavirus.

Paramedics have been trained on a device called "AeroClave."

The Florida Department of Health gave Hillsborough County Fire Rescue the $13,000 device about five years ago.

It was provided through a grant by the CDC. It has been used a handful of times over the years.

"We can disinfect something as small as an ambulance or we can put this up into a 5,000 square foot room, it just takes longer," said Jeremy Fischler, HCFR Quality Management Chief.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue showed ABC Action News how the device worked.

The process takes about 30 minutes, which is quicker than paramedics cleaning the ambulance manually.

"Think of it like a bug bomb at your house. It is kind of the same concept. It mists and fogs and it reaches all the nooks and crannies that are inside of that ambulance," said Fischler.

The device goes into an ambulance and paramedics turn it on remotely.

A cleaning solution sprays into the atmosphere and creates a fog. After six minutes, the machine shuts off and the substance settles onto surfaces for about 10 minutes.

"The third face takes about 20 minutes to get all the chemicals out and to clear the vents to clear everything. All that is left is a thin film on some of the surfaces and that's basically like a water vapor and salt," said Fischler.

Jeremy Fischler with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said they will use the device to clean ambulances if they suspect a patient may have coronavirus.

"We can deploy the device and make sure all of the surfaces that may have been infected by the patient are clean," said Fischler.

Fischler said crews have wipes and sprays to clean down the ambulances after each transport, but the device is an extra layer of protection.

"It's important we take those extra steps to ensure those surfaces are clean and we're not spreading it to future patients and we're protecting out crew," said Fischler.