How one product can disinfect your ambulance without damaging equipment
Prevent the spread of disease and promote provider health and safety with frequent and effective ambulance decontamination
Sponsored by Decon7 Systems
By EMS1 BrandFocus Staff
Maintaining a clean and sanitary environment in the ambulance is an important part of EMS, and it can be a real challenge to keep germs at bay when you’re transporting sick people 24/7. But inadequate decontamination efforts can leave enough germs to spread illness to other patients, as well as cause lost work time from provider illness.
Why ambulance decontamination matters
Results of a recent EMS1 survey indicate that the industry needs to pay more attention to this aspect of patient and provider safety.
Less than half of respondents said the patient care compartment is decontaminated after every call or transport, and less than 1 in 3 said daily or every shift. Similarly, less than half said they decontaminate the cab/front of the ambulance daily or after every shift, 29 percent said once a week – and 8 percent said never.
It’s important to remember that pathogens and contaminants can easily find their way into the front seat, and both compartments should be cleaned and decontaminated frequently as a key health and safety measure.
It’s also important to choose your decontamination tools and methods carefully. Not all cleaning products are suitable for this purpose. Some, like bleach, can create noxious fumes or damage equipment, and many are not effective enough to destroy infectious pathogens like C.Diff or hepatitis.
D7: A broad-spectrum solution
Decon7 Systems offers the D7 solution for ambulance decontamination. The broad-spectrum bactericidal solution cleans and disinfects all hard, nonporous surfaces and neutralizes Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as MRSA, C.Diff and influenza. The patented formula, developed by Sandia National Laboratories, can also break down and neutralize dangerous narcotics like fentanyl and kill airborne microbes like E. coli.
Once applied, D7 begins to break down bacteria, viruses and other hazardous materials as positively charged micelles, or clusters of molecules, draw germs and contaminants into the liquid, where the hazard is chemically altered and rendered harmless.
D7 is available in bulk liquid or the ready-to-use, handheld BDAS+ unit. In addition to enabling rapid response, the BDAS+ unit eliminates the potential for human error because the components are mixed for you. It works like a small fire extinguisher: Simply pull the yellow safety tab from the nozzle, point it at the surface to be decontaminated, then spray and wait seven minutes for the solution to neutralize the contaminants.
Safe for Frequent Use
Many EMS providers rely on disinfectant wipes or bleach when the patient care compartment has been contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids, but bleach and other commonly used cleaning chemicals aren’t as effective as you might think.
In addition, many of these substances – especially bleach – are corrosive and create harmful fumes. D7 and the BDAS+ provide thorough decontamination without these harmful fumes or damage to equipment, making it safe for everyday use. Once D7 does its work to neutralize harmful substances and kill germs, the solution ends at a neutral pH.
“We’re about as dangerous as an Alka-Seltzer in the beginning, and even less so as D7 moves naturally to a neutral pH,” said Joe Hill, defense product manager for Decon7. “D7 is formulated to maximize the neutralization power of the formula. What you’re left with is non-potable water and a microbe-resistant, non-toxic, nonflammable and completely environmentally safe pH-neutral residue. Anything you can use soap and water or bleach on, you can use D7 on, and our product is not corrosive like bleach.”
Although D7 complies with environmental regulations and is EPA-registered, it is not FDA-approved for use on your skin. Users should wear gloves and goggles, plus a mask and protective clothing when applying the solution in close quarters.
Hill estimates that the 2-gallon D7 kit can provide surface decon via sprayer for the average large ambulance more than 30 times at a cost of $6 per cleaning using the minimum amount of D7. He says it can also be used to decontaminate soiled linens and uniforms rather than replacing them. Unlike chlorine bleach, D7 Laundry is colorfast, biodegradable and will not degrade fabrics.
EMS providers face numerous threats on the job, including exposure to infectious diseases like hepatitis and influenza. Choose your decontamination tools carefully so you can protect yourself from these threats.