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Longboat Key Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021 10 months ago

Devices aboard Longboat rescue vehicles clear the air

Machines combat airborne pollutants such bacteria, mold and viruses, including COVID-19.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

Anyone receiving an emergency ride from the Longboat Key Fire Rescue Department may notice its trucks have a pleasant smell.

In July, the department installed active air-purification systems inside its six trucks.

“The trucks simply smell cleaner,” Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Carr said. “That’s a weird thing to say, but the trucks actually smell cleaner, so it’s constantly deodorizing.”

The equipment from RGF Environmental Group Inc. uses UV light and photohydroionization technology to neutralize airborne pollutants such as bacteria, mold and viruses, including COVID-19. The company claims that studies have shown a 99% reduction of airborne pathogens using the devices, which are powered by the vehicles' 12-volt electrical system.

Longboat Key Fire Rescue Department public information officer Tina Adams said the devices cost $11,655 and were paid through the capital budget. Carr said the department considered twoh7 models, but opted against the model that requires someone to pour fluid into the device.

“We looked at a couple of different systems, and really the thought was to make it simple for the guys,” Carr said. “So the guys are seeing everything inside and out. They’re seeing trauma, they’re seeing sickness, they’re seeing COVID, they’re seeing whatever vehicle accident.”

Carr said the device helps combat some of the “stuff people don’t want to talk about,” which includes blood, spit and other fluids.

 Carr said first responders in Hillsborough and Sarasota counties are among those who have installed similar technology inside their trucks.

“It should be a peace of mind for the actual patients and the citizens that we transport to the hospital as well when they know they’re getting in a unit of ours,” Carr said.

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Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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