County agencies use germ killing machine to stay healthy - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

County agencies use germ killing machine to stay healthy

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Firefighters use the 'Zimek' to disinfect a Spokane Fire Department vehicle Firefighters use the 'Zimek' to disinfect a Spokane Fire Department vehicle

SPOKANE, Wash. - As flu season approaches and the Swine Flu sickens more people everyday, the Spokane Fire Department is one of may county agencies using a gas emitting machine to fight germs.

The 'Zimek' emits a non-toxic gas into a confined space, such as a car or fire truck and even rooms, that is said to kill 99.9 percent of germs it comes into contact with.

The county was waiting for more than a year to get a machine before a grant from Homeland Security allowed officials to purchase one.

Officials say they have purchased enough of the product to disinfect approximately 7,000 vehicles and depending on the frequency of use, a vehicle should only have to be 'gassed' once a month.

Fire Officials hope by using the 'Zimek' their personnel will stay healthily and they can decrease the amount of sick leave taken. The department also says they will save money on cleaning in that the 'Zimek' disinfects each vehicle at a cost of $.65.

"It's nothing new as far as the product that they're using. It's the same type disinfectants we have been using for years," says Spokane Fire Department Division Chief Art Nichols. "What's different is the delivery system... it penetrates all those cracks and crannies you can't normally get to by just doing a general wipe down."

Firefighters at Station 1 say they did not get the Zimek based solely on the Swine Flu, adding they had applied for one during the MRSA outbreak in Spokane.

Nichols says that they will be passing the machine along soon to other county agencies to use in vehicles like ambulances and even helicopters.

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