Chelsea firefighters using new equipment for COVID-19 response


| 90 sec read | by Lonnie Huhman, |

The Chelsea fire and police departments have a new way to help them stay protected during the COVID-19 pandemic where wearing a face mask in certain situations has become essential.

Public safety in Chelsea now has an ultra violet decontamination chamber.

A decontamination chamber.

Chelsea Area Fire Authority Chief Robert Arbini said the purchase of the machine was specific to COVID-19, but it can be used to kill viruses in general.

“There was such a shortage of masks when the pandemic hit, that we were looking for a way to get more out of what we had,” Arbini said as to why it’s needed. “This machine allows us, and the Chelsea Police Department, to stretch the amount of uses out of one mask.”

Arbini said the department has had interactions with citizens that have tested positive for the virus.

The product they purchased is the Orbitform Medical UVC Decontamination Chamber -UVC DC, which decontaminates disposable N95 face masks / respirators. According to its website, it aims to allow the re-use of face masks / respirators in the event of a shortage.

“The UVC DC can be used at healthcare clinics, hospitals, fire stations, police stations, nursing homes, etc., and can be located near the actual point of use,” the product’s website said. “One or more UVC DC’s can be located at each department, wing, hallway, nurse’s station, or emergency room, so there is no need to handle and disinfect mass numbers of masks at a central or off-site location.  The UVC Decontamination Chamber can easily be transported in a minivan or SUV.”

The chamber is an investment for the departments and comes at a key moment.

Arbini updated the Chelsea Area Fire Board at its April 21 meeting about the chamber as well as the “fogging system” it obtained that can disinfect buildings and vehicles.

“We believe that this machine will help us through the pandemic and not have to worry as much about the shortage of respirators,” Arbini said of the decontamination chamber.