WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — For months the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department has been waiting to get their hands on the AeroClave Decontamination System.
"It took all this time to get it because the pumps that are used to make these, are used on ventilators and FEMA took them to make ventilators," explained Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney.
The device is in high demand because it can easily be placed inside an ambulance and decontaminate it within minutes, hands-free.
For other things, like the inside of a fire engine cab, a hose can be attached and used as well.
"So, fortunately, we got it we've been using it on our COVID calls now for disinfecting and decontamination of the ambulance and it works really well," added Delaney.
The fire chief said the sanitizer used in the device is safe to use on the electronics inside first responder vehicles.
"An ambulance costs about $225,000, fire engine's about $500,000 with high tech electronic equipment. So the substance that comes out of this to kill the virus, it's biodegradable and works really well with electronic equipment," explained the chief.
"The most important thing is, we make sure that our first responders, whether it's the fire dept, EMS, that they are safe. They can't call on someone that has COVID-19 or any other injury if they're not safe themselves," added Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown.
"Keep in mind, this virus is a killer. It's a killer. Our fire department has transported well over 200 COVID-19 patients. We take decontamination very seriously. The mayor gets it, he authorized this, and I think we're keeping our staff a lot safer and the public that has to go in these ambulances a lot safer for them also," concluded the chief.
The system costs a little over $15,000 dollars.
The mayor says it will be paid for with a COVID-19 relief grant the city has been approved for and the device will be used among city departments where ever it is needed.