With the current state of social distancing and caution over spreading disease, it is important to know how to protect yourself if called to deploy to a hospital, shelter or other facility. Most likely if you are deployed, you will come in contact with items such as pens, phones, computers, radios and other devices that do not belong to you. How do you keep yourself from obtaining or even transmitting a virus? The following procedures are used by our friends at the American Red Cross C★ DST for handling equipment and devices.
What devices: Any device that is touched should be sanitized before handling. It should also be sanitized before returning to the customer. This includes Cell phones, phones, keyboards, laptops, mouses, and touch screens.
Materials: To follow this procedure you will need to have stocked and available:
• Disposable gloves (Latex Free)
• Disinfectant wipes
- If the device is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) then ask for permission
- Wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer*)
- Apply gloves
- Shut off the device to be sanitized.
- Wipe down the device with a disinfectant wipe.
- Remove gloves and wash hands
Gloves can be a great illusion in sanitation. If you touch a contaminated object then the gloves can transmit that. Use gloves to protect your hands from the disinfectant wipes. Some folks are allergic to some disinfectants or perfumes in disinfectant wipes. Where possible use disinfectant wipes which are not perfumed. To learn more about the proper use of gloves, watch the training video from ProTrainings here.
Never spray a device, or use a dripping wet wipe. If you are using a liquid to disinfect then put it on a cloth or swab. You will have to have the device wet to get the desired effect, but you do not want to wet electronic components or cause a short. Stay away from access areas to electronic components such as ear phone jacks and speakers.
If hand washing is not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. However, this is not sufficient for Norovirus. CDC showed that facilities that relied on alcohol-based hand sanitizers alone were 6 times more likely to have a Norovirus outbreak. Use Hand Washing wherever possible.
From the CDC “Use disinfecting wipes on electronic items that are touched often, such as phones and computers. Pay close attention to the directions for using disinfecting wipes. It may be necessary to use more than one wipe to keep the surface wet for the stated length of contact time. Make sure that the electronics can withstand the use of liquids for cleaning and disinfecting.” If using a new product, then test first! If you are provided a liquid sanitizing product, use a microfiber cloth (not a paper towel).
Credit to Kevin McCoy, IT – Disaster Services Technology, American Red Cross. Kevin has been a stickler for sanitized work stations and equipment for years. His procedure has been adopted on the National Level of the ARC. Historically, the number of volunteers within the Central Texas Region who become ill during deployment are significantly lower when compared to the national average.