Ambulances, police cars get new tool in virus fight

UV-light zaps Covid-19 with 99.9% effectiveness
Posted at 6:55 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 18:55:48-04

A partnership between two West Michigan tech companies is good news for first responders.

UV light, the same harmful light that comes from the sun’s rays, is now being harnessed to clean the vehicles of first responders.

GHSP partnered with UV-Angel, both Grand Haven-based tech companies, to design a line of products that use UV-C light to kill germ and bacteria. In bursts, the light is very effective, and now the devices can be installed in police cars, ambulances, and fire vehicles.

"UV-C is something that's becoming much more stronger of an interest because it is used for purposes in medical fields to disinfect surfaces and enritonments," said GHSP Chief Technology Officer Marc Smeyers. "So we're using the same technology as used in the medical applications to then take into the mobility space - into the vehicles - where we can then do the same thing and disinfect surfaces the same way as in healthcare facilities."

The devices also store data to a unique cloud-based monitoring system that tracks its usage and decides when to administer light and how much.

“And this occurs daily or routinely throughout the actual work period where we’re able to disinfect while the users are using the vehicle, versus having to wait until they return back to where the vehicles are serviced,” said Smeyers. “We’re able to have it be connected as well to the cloud where we’re able to actually monitor when someone’s there and not using it, as well as all the maintenance that goes into the said units.”

That’s important - Smeyers said it’s an approach best used in confined spaces, and with control, because prolonged direct exposure to UV light can be harmful to the skin and tissue. That’s something they can also control on their end.

“When anyone is present in the environment whether it be a patient or it be a paramedic or in cases of a police or someone in the back seat of a police car… we turn the light off and we make sure it’s off,” said Smeyers. “Then as soon as someone exits the environment, we’re able to turn the UV-C light on and disinfect the surfaces.”

For more information on GHSP, click here.

For more information on UV-Angel, click here.