Gloveboxes key to CST

Chris Anderson

MIAMI—Purified microenvironments, a division of Germ Free Laboratories Inc., has played a key role in helping the U.S. government protect the domestic population against any natural or man-made disaster involving biological or chemical agents.

The company's custom-designed gloveboxes are an integral part of the first 10 Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams (CST) now deployed at National Guard bases across the country. The CSTs were created to provide protection against domestic terrorism.

“These units are the result of the recognition by the U.S. government that this country was not immune from acts of terrorism,” says Jack Hooper, spokesperson for the National Guard Bureau, Alexandria, VA.

Purified Microenvironments, based here, provided 10 lightweight gloveboxes and a custom designed air filtration system that allowed the CSTs to install the units in a van that can be driven—or airlifted—during deployment.

“The goverment didn't have the kind of air filtration system they needed,” says Keith Landy general manager of Purified Microenvironments. “The Army had developed similar systems for tanks, but they drew way too much power and weren't light enough to be installed in the off-the-lot vans the CSTs use.”

Purified spent two years designing and developing filtration units that were lightweight, had a low power draw and were rugged enough to undergo the rigors of travel without damage. “We spent a lot of time working to develop filtration that would work and in modifying the design of our glove boxes to make them lighter,” says Landy.

Civil support teams provide protection against domestic terrorism using custom-designed portable gloveboxes.
Click here to enlarge image

The first CSTs were placed within each of the 10 Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) regions with the goal of being able to reach areas needing assistance within six hours. Now the government is getting ready to “stand-up” another 17 units and Purified hopes it can be there to collect that business as well. “We provided the first 10 so we feel that we are very qualified to get the business this time around too,” says Landy “But we don't have a contract for that yet.”

When the 17 new units are trained and ready sometime in 2002, the National Guard will have one unit within 250 miles of 90 percent of the population, Hooper says.

Meantime, the folks at Purified have continued to tinker with the design used for the CSTs not just to prepare for the possibility of additional work with the National Guard, but for other applications as well.

“We think there is a lot of interest in being able to put an isolation unit in a van and take it where you want,” says Landy. “A lot of environmental people especially could use this technology.”


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.