Rebecca Spayne, Managing Editor, Fire Buyer, speaks with Adrian Wußler, Product Manager, MEIKO Protect, about decontaminating PPE
Could you offer insights into the history and heritage of MEIKO?
MEIKO has been at the forefront of devising innovative solutions for the cleaning and disinfection of PPE in respiratory protection workshops. Under the banner of MEIKO Protect, the company provides an all-encompassing service: consultation, design, technology, installation, training, and after-sales service. From designing a respiratory protection workshop to offering guidance on chemicals and validation, as well as training at their in-house academy, fire brigades find in MEIKO a proficient ally. The company’s expertise, rooted in its German heritage of almost a century in pioneering hygiene technology for warewashing and cleaning, is invaluable. MEIKO, with its longstanding history, consistently emphasises ergonomics, occupational safety, efficiency, and sustainability in its solutions. Respirator wearers and equipment caretakers have reaped the benefits of this vast experience for over a decade.
How does MEIKO’s BA mask cleaning system cater specifically to the needs of the fire service industry?
For approximately 15 years, we’ve collaborated closely with fire brigades. Our initial TopClean M cleaning device and its complementary rack were conceived in partnership with respiratory protection equipment technicians. Since then, we’ve maintained consistent dialogue with the fire service sector and the broader market. We vigilantly monitor the evolution of regulations, manufacturer certifications, and escalating hygiene standards. For our MEIKO Protect team, the health and safety of those using respiratory protection equipment are of utmost importance. It’s essential that our systems provide absolute security for its users. Alongside safety, we also prioritise time-efficiency.
Given that firefighter PPE might come into contact with various contaminants, including carcinogens, could you elucidate on the technology or features your system employs to ensure maximum carcinogen removal from PPE?
Firstly, it’s important to highlight our reverse rinsing system. With our TopClean D pre-cleaning unit, we ensure optimal removal of dirt particles from the equipment. Secondly, the positioning of the equipment within our racks is meticulously planned and executed. This guarantees that each item — whether a mask, breathing apparatus, or compressed air cylinder — receives the precise quantity of water and chemicals required for thorough processing. There are absolutely no spray shadows. Thirdly, we maintain specific temperatures for designated durations to assure hygiene.
In specific terms, our TopClean M washer-disinfector sustains a set temperature for at least five minutes. This ensures that bacteria are effectively eliminated and viruses are neutralised. An autonomous hygiene specialist has scrutinised our enclosed-process system and validated it with a hygiene certificate. Users can independently verify the efficacy of the cleaning and disinfection process. In association with a laboratory, we’ve introduced the Simicon test for this exact purpose. Equipment caretakers can use the device as per usual, attach test strips beforehand, initiate the cleaning process, and later send the strips to the lab for analysis. Results are received within days, allowing corrective action if necessary. Moreover, whenever new PPE enters the market, we conduct validity and hygiene tests alongside chemical and PPE manufacturers. Our collaboration ensures all aspects are meticulously coordinated to minimise the risk of exposure to carcinogenic substances for those using respirators.
You’ve mentioned measures for respirator attendants; could you provide some examples?
If the test outcome post-cleaning isn’t up to par, respirator attendants ought to first review their procedures, asking questions like: Have I ensured all steps were taken for hygienic cleaning? Did I don gloves when setting up the equipment? Afterward, did I use a fresh pair of gloves to handle the PPE? Could the surface where I placed the equipment have been tainted? Is the cleaning unit functioning correctly? Are all chemical and water supply lines intact? When was the machine last maintained?
With the heightened emphasis on firefighter health and the risks associated with dirty equipment, how does MEIKO’s solution support brigades in keeping their PPE at the highest standard of cleanliness?
As a comprehensive solution provider, we stand by fire brigades from start to finish. They benefit from our extensive expertise in crafting respiratory protection workshops. We initiate by listening, grasping the fire brigade’s requirements and processes, then transition to the planning phase, during which we enhance the respiratory protection workshop, often building it anew. Space constraints frequently mean there’s no clear demarcation between clean and dirty zones, which we address. Increasingly, our solution is the hood type unit, TopClean H. Positioned in a wall aperture, it delineates clean from contaminated areas.
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