Here is a guideline for disinfecting your equipment in the most feasible way.
Many of us are effected by the COVID-19 pandemic and hope to resume business as usual. Therefore, we currently abide by regulations set forth by the Canadian government regarding the operation of our business at this time. Furthermore, our operation guidelines are reinforced by current results produced by the scientific and academic community. Thus, the information outlined in this document and our operating procedures are adapting as we learn more about the disease and we encourage you do the same.
To further ensure we are doing our part in helping stop the spread of COVID-19, we looked into reviewing our own procedure of cleaning equipment and what is in the manual is so far. We understand that washing equipment is not a feasible approach for a commercial setting, such as in an adventure park or training organsiation, and aim to provide a plausible alternative.
In order to understand what we are dealing with in regards to the virus and how long it is remains active on surfaces we did our research and found that Harvard Health Publishing has a good explanation, which is as follows:
How long can the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 survive on surfaces?
This recent study found that the COVID-19 coronavirus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Researchers also found that this virus can remain as droplets in the air for up to three hours before they fall, although they will often fall more quickly.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot we still don’t know, such as how different conditions, exposure to sunlight, heat, or cold can affect these survival times.
As we learn more, be sure to continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects every day. These include: counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
If surfaces are dirty, first clean them using a detergent and water before disinfecting them.
A list of products suitable for use against COVID-19 is available here. This list has been pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use during the COVID-19 outbreak. [Click here to view the list.]
In addition, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after bringing in packages or after trips to the grocery store as well as other places where you may have come into contact with infected surfaces.Harvard Medical School
Reading this portion it is clear that cross contamination is possible if the equipment gets compromised and used by the next person within a few days in the worse scenario.
Also is important to understand that using some of these cleaning product suggested are not suitable for our PPE.
Therefore, we hypothesized if the most reasonable solution would be the use of an UVC light (germicidal lamp). From our research we learned that Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is a very common treatment within water plants and currently suggested for cleaning facemasks so they can be reused.
Looking at UVC light and reading the article from Elsevier on behalf of the AAD [click here to view the article], we determined that it requires 1 J/cm2 (J = joule) of exposure to eliminate viruses and bactaria. In our case this means we don’t need a lot of exposure or energy. Which is a good thing as we don’t recommend equipment to be over exposed to UV as we do know that long term UV (sun light) exposure does harm textile products.
However as our webbing is treated against UV radiation we don’t see a problem of using UVC as a solution for disinfecting your equipment as it is fast, clean, and it eliminates the potential exposure to COVID-19 by those who are washing the equipment. We have confirmed this with our webbing supplier.
We therefore say that an UVC light can be used and we recommend to setup an area in where you can hang your equipment and remotely “zap” the equipment for a few seconds before turning the gear around and doing it again. Of course the distance vs the strength of your light will be important to take into consideration.
UVC is harmful to the skin and eyes so read the manual that comes with the light and be careful!
As I am writing this we are in process of buying an UVC light ourselves and will take extra steps to over expose webbing to this method and, after a variety of intervals, perform pull tests to see what influence the different timelines of exposure will have on our webbing.
Of course nothing is 100% as this is a new virus and exposing products is tricky due to the distance, shadows, etc.
We therefore suggest to read the attached documents for more details, study other articles you can find, listen to your local legislators, and share any findings you make so we can come to a collective solution that is going to be acceptable for the general public.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me.
Igor Stomp, President