Most people have probably never given much thought as to how Park County ambulances, law enforcement patrol cars and firefighting vehicles would be decontaminated during the midst of a viral pandemic.
Unless, of course, while under the threat of something like the coronavirus, they happen to be a driver or passenger in such a vehicle. In that case, they might devote a considerable amount of thought to the topic.
One person who has fortunately devoted a great deal of thought to the topic of decontamination processes is Bailey resident Erick McCallum, owner of a Denver-based company called CG Environmental. He and his crews have been hard at work lately decontaminating ambulances, patrol cars and firefighting vehicles for the county.
McCallum’s company also decontaminates both residential homes and businesses, and his company is one of the few in Colorado that trains its employees in infectious disease mitigation.
“I gave atomizers to Joe Burgett with the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District, and also decontaminated one of their stations, and then did some training with the Sheriff and some of his staff, and also went ahead and decontaminated an ambulance,” McCallum said.
McCallum provided both Burgett and McGraw with hand-held machines called atomizers, which are central to the decontamination process. McCallum’s goal was not only to execute the decontamination of particular areas and vehicles for the county, but to train a variety of Park County personnel with the knowledge and equipment necessary to repeat the process on their own.
The decontamination process to prevent or remove the threat of the coronavirus, as one might imagine, is much more involved than simply hand-wiping surfaces with disinfectants.
“When you hand wipe things, you cross contaminate,” McCallum said. “If you’re touching something and wiping, and then wiping something else, and wiping something else, you’re just spreading. You’re smearing things around. Our goal is to kill the virus. We want to kill the virus so that way, if you touch a surface, you’re not going take it home to your family, or you’re not going to touch your face and get it.”
McCallum has been in the business of decontamination for more than 25 years, and he says the coronavirus presents considerable challenges serious health risks for those in his line of work.
“Cleaning up an office, restaurant, or building believed to have COVID-19 is a feat equivalent to a hazardous materials response,” McCallum said.
According to Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw, McCallum has been generous with both his company’s time and resources during the coronavirus epidemic.
“Erick provided the machines to us strictly at his company’s cost, and from what I have seen and read, they do the job,” said Park County Sheriff, Tom McGraw.
CG Environmental also provides hazardous and non-hazardous material cleanup, field services and emergency response. The company also trains Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters in a number of decontamination and safety practices in Park County, and also does the same for Colorado Department of Transportation personnel.
“I was a police officer myself at one time, so I understand what these guys are up against all the time, not just during the coronavirus epidemic,” McCallum said.