Feature   Defense News

Air Force Base Finds Creative Way to Disinfect Classrooms

Oct. 15, 2020 | BY AIR FORCE SENIOR AIRMAN SERAIAH WOLF

The 17th Civil Engineer Squadron at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, is employing a different way of efficiently disinfecting the classrooms on base — a fog machine.

A mask and a hand-held machine with the words "Fogmaster Jr." rest on a table.
Cleaning Time
A mask and fogging machine sit on the table before being used at a school on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 30, 2020. The chemical used for disinfecting the classrooms is certified as safe for use without a mask, but 17th Civil Engineer Squadron members are taking every precaution.
Photo By: Air Force Sr. Airman Seraiah Wolf
VIRIN: 200330-F-IK439-1005M

Taking extra precautions for their own safety, CE members Omar Martinez and Walter Miller enter the school-age program and Child Development Center classrooms and use fog machines to deploy a mist of disinfectant to all of the surface areas within the building.

This disinfectant mist is safe to breathe and be around while it is being distributed. There is a suggested re-entry time of 20 minutes, which allows the chemical to bond to any germs and kill them.

"The time the chemical is left alone on the surface is called wet time," Martinez said. "In the time that it bonds to the germs, it also dries, and, since it is a 'no rinse needed' chemical, you are then good to go."

A man dressed in a protective mask and gloves sprays a mist onto a desk.
Sanitary Supplies
Civil Engineer Squadron Pest Controller Omar Martinez walks around a classroom spraying a disinfectant mist on surfaces in a classroom at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 30, 2020. The chemical used by the 17th CES is 99.999% effective at bonding to germs on the surface and killing them within 20 minutes.
Photo By: Air Force Sr. Airman Seraiah Wolf
VIRIN: 200330-F-IK439-1008M

Each individual organization is responsible for disinfecting its offices daily. The building's staff wipes down the high traffic areas every day.

"We do this when we are requested," Miller said. "This is usually if one of the children has had an especially runny nose or if someone just wants to go the extra step to make sure even the hard-to-reach areas are taken care of."

This method of disinfecting is more efficient for the members to disinfect large square footage areas.

"The chemical that we use is known to be 99.999% effective in killing different viruses," Martinez said. "This is why we are using this method, as well. It is more likely to kill everything we want it to."

Behind a closed door with a glass window, a man dressed in a protective mask and gloves holds a machine with a canister attached to the bottom.
Cleaning Time
Civil Engineer Squadron Pest Controller Omar Martinez sprays a classroom door with disinfectant at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 30, 2020. The members of the 17th CES use the fog as a more efficient way to reach every surface in a room.
Photo By: Air Force Sr. Airman Seraiah Wolf
VIRIN: 200330-F-IK439-1006M

Two weeks ago, when COVID-19 was gaining traction, the flight chief for child and youth programs reached out for help to deep clean all of the classrooms and toys. A group of fire and intelligence students volunteered and cleaned all of the classroom surfaces and toys to help protect the children across the base.

Experts say those in quarantine should reach out to friends and battle buddies through social media; take advantage of the new ways to watch movies and television shows together; and always keep in mind that, as frustrating and inconvenient as this experience is, it is only temporary.

(Air Force Senior Airman Seraiah Wolf is assigned to the 17th Training Wing Public Affairs, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas).