Indoor facilities that feature large groups of people mixing at a time are at particular risk of spreading COVID-19. Schools and private hire venues are two locations where this is immediately apparent…
Why UVC air filtration is set to become essential for independent schools and private hire venues
Indoor facilities that feature large groups of people mixing at a time are at particular risk of spreading COVID-19. Schools and private hire venues are two locations where this is immediately apparent – and these facilities have in many cases already enhanced their cleaning protocols and routines to ensure that high touch surfaces are disinfected more regularly and more thoroughly than before the pandemic. This is, of course, a vital component of ensuring that these facilities are as safe as possible for students and staff, or in the case of private hire venues, for guests or delegates.
However, a facility in which only surfaces are disinfected cannot be considered nearly as safe as one where the air is also disinfected. COVID-19 is transmitted primarily through the air, not surfaces, through the small droplets and particles, or aerosols, which leave our mouths and noses as we breathe and speak. Research published in medical journal The Lancet has shown that contracting the virus from surfaces is relatively rare compared to contracting it via the air.
While this doesn’t diminish the importance of thoroughly disinfecting surfaces within rooms, ideally via both manual cleaning and UVC disinfection, it does mean that even rooms featuring the most thoroughly and regularly cleaned surfaces pose a risk of ongoing contagion.
HOW CAN AIR BE DISINFECTED?
Air is most effectively disinfected by the deployment of UVC disinfection technology.
In simple terms, UVC is a form of ultraviolet that mean it kills contaminants such as bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19. It must be emitted by a specialised device (like one of Finsen Tech’s products), and it works by destroying the genetic material of the contaminants – firstly by rupturing the walls of the bacteria and viruses’ cells, and secondly by disrupting the functioning of their DNA and RNA, leaving them unable to replicate.
This process does not only work on the air, but also on surfaces – but is of particularly vital importance for air decontamination because air cannot be decontaminated by the traditional cleaning methods that do have some effect on surfaces.
There are two primary types of specialised UVC disinfection product which can be used to disinfect the air in a room. Either a room-scale disinfection device (such as our own THOR UVC®), which disinfects entire rooms including all of the air and surfaces within them, or an air circulation device such as our own EIR®.
For the ongoing air disinfection required in rooms continually used throughout the day – such as those in independent schools or private hire venues – the EIR® provides a constant flow of disinfected air throughout the day, significantly improving the safety of the rooms for all users.
It works by functioning in many ways like an air conditioner, by drawing in the air before emitting it again. Unlike an air conditioner, it does not adjust the air’s temperature. Instead, it passes the air before powerful UVC emitters within it, killing all the bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens within it, including COVID-19, before pushing the disinfected air back into the room.
Is UVC air filtration safe?
Yes – UVC disinfection, in general, is very safe, provided that the UVC rays themselves do not come into direct contact with humans.
In the case of a device designed to disinfect only air, there is no need for the UVC light to ever leave the confines of the disinfection unit. The EIR is a comprehensively sealed device from which no UVC light escapes. It’s therefore fully safe to deploy in a range of settings, including anywhere that is used by the general public, who might not even be aware of what the device is. There is no possibility that someone tampering with the machine might be able to trigger the release of the UVC rays. They are pointed only inward at the air passing through the device.
Is UVC air filtration effective?
UVC air filtration is extremely effective when deployed by effective devices. Some devices on the marketplace will purport to provide disinfection of the air via UVC, but their effectiveness may be exaggerated or untested.
In the case of the EIR®, extensive testing has taken place to ensure that the device is highly effective. Testing has shown that it kills 99.95% of bacteria and viruses, a market-leading kill rate.
What does this mean for schools and private hire venues?
Both schools and private hire venues generally feature enclosed rooms with dense populations of individuals, used for long periods of time. This not only means that there is a risk of contagion of COVID-19 and other pathogens through the air, but that regular disinfection of the air within the room can be difficult.
UVC disinfection via a product like the Finsen Tech EIR® alleviates this issue, allowing safe, effective, and ongoing disinfection of the air within the room – creating a safer environment for users of the room and complementing the manual disinfection of surfaces that is already being undertaken.
Find out more about the Finsen Tech EIR® and how it can be deployed in your facility:
The EIR® range is designed to inactivate airborne micro-organisms in small and closed areas such as offices, houses, small rooms, toilets, and storerooms etc.