Representatives from MSU and Metro Ambulance Service gather after MSU delivered a mask disinfectant device to Metro Ambulance for use by emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Photo by Lisa Sollie
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics at Metro Ambulance Service have a new, fast way to disinfect their masks courtesy of a device designed and built by Mississippi State students.
A team from MSU delivered the device, a toolbox outfitted with ultraviolet lights, to Metro Ambulance this past week. As EMTs and paramedics complete their shift, they will be able to sanitize their masks in approximately 30 minutes, extending the lifespan of their personal protective equipment. The apparatus can be used to disinfect cloth, surgical and N-95 masks.
“This device will allow us to refurbish our masks the medics wear and have them sanitized,” said Clayton Cobler, Metro Ambulance Service director. “With that peace of mind, they can put them on, go back out and still be protected. This saves money because we can re-use the N-95 masks. We don’t have to trash them after every shift and get new ones.”
The first disinfectant box was built at MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems in April after the university’s John C. Longest Student Health Center requested it amid a national shortage of personal protective equipment. Within two weeks, the device was designed, built and delivered by students in MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering with support from faculty and staff at CAVS. The students built another device for the Mississippi Veterans Home in Kosciusko.
Justin Easley, left, an MSU sophomore mechanical engineering student from Starkville, and Ryden Smith, a mechanical engineering master’s student from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, show the UV disinfectant box they built to Metro Ambulance Service Director Clayton Cobler. Photo by Lisa Sollie
MSU has worked to make the technology publicly available through its Office of Technology Management. The university joined the COVID-19 Technology Access Framework, a consortium of institutions dedicated to providing fast and royalty-free access to technologies that can be used fight the pandemic.
“We have designed this to be affordable, portable and effective,” said Ryden Smith, a second-year master’s student in mechanical engineering who built the device. “I think this is an incredible opportunity to help our healthcare providers by giving them something that can help keep them safe while they’re on the front lines.”