Alaska State Troopers tap Fairbanks engineers to help disinfect equipment

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Even during a pandemic, law enforcement officers continue to serve and protect their communities. The Alaska State Troopers collaborated with a Fairbanks engineering company to equip their officers with UV lights to sanitize vehicles and equipment.

A UV light built by Lifewater Engineering Company hangs in an Alaska State Trooper patrol car to disinfect the car. (John Dougherty/KTVF)

Captain Ronald Wall, the commander of the Alaska State Troopers D Detachment said that they want to ensure that their employees and the public stay safe. To do this they have been using chemicals and ozone to disinfect their equipment. However, sometimes chemicals don’t work.

"We can't use a chemical bomb in a car to kill the virus and worry about the electronics," Wall said.

Captain Wall contacted Lifewater Engineering Company in Fairbanks who told them about work they were doing with ultra violet lights for the hospital.

"I was talking to Captain Wall of the State Troopers and mentioned what we had done there and he said, ' wow could we use that to sanitize our vehicles?' And I said sure, yeah you could," said Bob Tsigonis, the owner of Lifewater Engineering Company.

Wall said that the company had designed a prototype for troopers in a week and a week later they delivered eight of the units to the troopers. The units are being sent to all of the trooper detachments for use in the field as well as to the aviation side of troopers to ensure that their aircraft stay clean.

The system uses a wire cage to hold two powerful ultra violet lights that run on a timer. Troopers can hang the light in a vehicle or aircraft to disinfect them without damaging electronics. They also have a tent that is used to hang vests, gun belts and PPE to disinfect.

The light runs for three minutes and 15 seconds on each cycle allowing troopers to quickly disinfect a surface.

Tsigonis said they were able to quickly build the kits since they had the supplies on hand and have their own engineers.

Wall said he plans on demonstrating the system to the fire departments so they can look into purchasing units.

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