Code 3's Patient Compartment Lights disinfect the ambulance compartment while the vehicle is being driven.
 - Photo courtesy of Code 3

Code 3's Patient Compartment Lights disinfect the ambulance compartment while the vehicle is being driven.

Photo courtesy of Code 3

The Metro West Fire Protection District in St. Louis County, Mo., is installing new lights that purport to kill bacteria in its ambulances as an added layer of safety for drivers and passengers. According to manufacturer Code 3, this is the first agency in the U.S. to utilize this technology.

Metro West uses two intermittent cleaning processes for disinfecting its ambulances: manually wiping down the inside of each ambulance with bleach and using an ultraviolet (UV) light when ambulances are not in use. The new Patient Compartment Light from Code 3 will add a third process, disinfecting the vehicle while it is being driven to or from a call or on the way back from the hospital.

Intermittent cleaning can be effective in reducing the presence of viruses and bacteria growing on surfaced in an ambulance. However, immediately after the interior space is wiped down and/or the UV light is removed, the risk begins to grow again, and as soon as a person enters the ambulance, they are re-introducing germs. The ambulances are much like a moving emergency room and cannot be easily cleaned at all times using traditional cleaning methods.

This added layer of infection prevention was easy to adopt. No structural changes were needed to Metro West’s existing ambulances when the new Code 3 light was installed. In just 90 minutes, Metro West fleet management staff installed eight lights in each of our ambulances. These bacteria-killing LED lights do not put a drain on the vehicle’s battery. The ambulances are all plugged into shoreline power and the Code 3 compartment lights are left on at all times. The staff knows they are better off if the Patient Compartment lights stay on.

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