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‘We want to get ahead of the curve’: Hollywood Burbank Airport starts using new sanitation device

Inside Hollywood Burbank Airport, Isidro Vaca, with Diverse Facility Solutions, sanitizes a waiting area with a Protexus electrostatic backpack sprayer on Friday. The airport is stepping up its sanitation practices to protect passengers from the spread of the coronavirus.
(Tim Berger/Burbank Leader)

There was an eerie silence outside Hollywood Burbank Airport Friday morning. There were airplanes parked at most of the gates, but they were shut down and waiting for a few passengers, and there were hardly any vehicles passing around the terminals.

Inside Terminal A was more of the same — whisper quiet. The waiting areas were bare, and just a handful of people waited to catch a flight on a nearly empty plane.

There was some commotion in the terminal, however, but it too was barely making any noise. One of the airport’s janitors was spraying down the vacant benches in a waiting area with a disinfectant using a device newly acquired by Diverse Facility Solutions, or DFS, the janitorial company hired by the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority to keep Hollywood Burbank clean.

To make sure passengers and airport employees remain safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic, DFS workers will be using the device — called a Protexus electrostatic backpack sprayer made by EvaClean — every night for the foreseeable future to disinfect every surface of the airport.

What is being sprayed is a dilution of a 3M product that has been known to be effective against C. diff and coronaviruses and currently meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria for disinfectants that are effective against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, said Allen Dishman, senior director of operations for DFS.

Prior to using the device, the janitorial staff was cleaning surfaces using a heavy-duty disinfectant that required a wipe-down after being applied.

Isidro Vaca, with DFS, Diverse Facility Solutions, sanitizes a gate waiting area with a Protexus Electrostatic Sprayer to sanitize it in Burbank on Friday, April 3, 2020. The airport, along with the Ontario International Airport, are using the electrostatic device to sanitize surfaces deeper and more effectively than previously used cleaning methods.
Isidro Vaca, with DFS, Diverse Facility Solutions, sanitizes a gate waiting area with a Protexus Electrostatic Sprayer to sanitize it in Burbank on Friday, April 3, 2020. The airport, along with the Ontario International Airport, are using the electrostatic device to sanitize surfaces deeper and more effectively than previously used cleaning methods.
(Tim Berger/Burbank Leader)

With the new device, all that needs to be done is spray the solution on any surface and, within 10 minutes, the product is dry.

What sets the device apart from a conventional spray bottle, Dishman said, is that it magnetically charges the solution and dispenses it in a very fine mist.

“It gets in tight-to-reach spaces and crevasses that are harder to get to and clean using normal disinfection methods like wiping,” he said. “Our goal is to disinfect every surface at night, so come the morning, everything is sanitized and ready for business.”

The sprayer has been used at other facilities that DFS has contracts with, including Ontario International Airport. Prior to being the company’s site manager at Hollywood Burbank, Jerson Ramirez held that position at Ontario and had his employees there use the device.

Understanding its effectiveness then and given the current situation, Ramirez said it was only right for the sprayer to be used at the Burbank Airport.

Ramirez said his employees at Hollywood Burbank were worried at first about the pandemic and having to clean multiple surfaces each day with stronger disinfectants.

With the acquisition of the device, he said their anxiety has been calmed for now.

“We want to try and get ahead of the curve so that we can go back to having business and being able to see our families and have gatherings,” Ramirez said.

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