Emergency Management disinfection team keep Airmen safe
By Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady, 480th ISRW
/ Published June 12, 2020
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- The 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing Emergency Management team is focused on protecting Airmen, and maintaining mission readiness during any emergency situation. This was demonstrated recently, when a member was identified as having contacted COVID-19, EM team responded with their executed their disinfection team to ensure no one else would be exposed.
EM duties consists of Crisis Action Team representation for the commander, disaster preparedness, and contingency planning for unknown threats. They’ve developed parameters for combating the spread of COVID-19 including creating cleaning teams to perform trace cleanings within the building.
“Safety's main goal is to protect the people and mission which is exactly what this team was set up to do,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jakob Kurtz, 480th ISRW safety superintendent. “This team protects the building occupants and the mission by disinfecting the workplace after a COVID-19 positive individual is identified. The team can be recalled to the building after notification that an infected person recently worked there.”
EM team worked with other agencies both in the building and around the base to ensure they have the latest Air Force level COVID-19 guidance.
“A multidisciplinary approach allows us to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 disease and maintain the ability to conduct our mission,” said Lt Col Jason Massignan, 480th ISRW surgeon. “We have worked closely with safety and facilities who are both taking extensive measures to protect our Building 23 family. Hands-free devices at doors and in community use areas have helped to drastically reduce the number of high touch surfaces that we come into contact with daily.”
“By coordinating with facilities and Surgeon General, multiple leaders were able to use their expertise and coordination to make things run smoother,” added Kurtz. “SG helps with contact tracing, facilities recalls the team and provides the gear for cleaning, and Safety/EM creates the planning and parameters of the processes.”
Trace cleaning begins by determining where an individual visited within the building. Next, the cleaning teams would clean the specific office where the person worked, common areas such as bathrooms, hallways, and breakroom areas, and any other offices they visited. This cleaning is done before members can return to work inside of the building.
“My role was to wipe down all hard surfaces in an office where a member of our building had tested positive for COVID-19 worked, as well as the break room and front lobby,” said Staff Sgt. Hunter Chadderton, 27th Intelligence Squadron disinfection team member. “I also assisted other members in wiping down the areas which generate a lot of foot traffic. It gives you a sense of purpose when you can ensure the safety of other members.”
“We know that the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19, can persist on surfaces, and through rigorous cleaning of workspaces, especially after a confirmed positive case, prevents others from contracting the virus on surfaces,” added Massignan. “It is still important to keep your personal workstation clean and wipe it down daily along with washing your own hands frequently.”
Through coordination with different sections and developing preventative and responsive actions, Airmen take care of Airmen.
“During this unprecedented time, the ability to provide critical and timely information to our team is invaluable,” said Col. Max Pearson, former 480th ISRW commander. “We owe thanks to our Emergency Management teams who work in tandem with our base and organizational counterparts to ensure the health and safety of our Airmen and their families.”