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Michigan National Guard supports innovative solution to protective equipment shortage

Michigan National Guard supports innovative solution to protective equipment shortage

TAYLOR, Mich. – Members of the Michigan National Guard are assisting the State of Michigan with an innovative solution to sanitize and reuse medical protective equipment in the state’s fight against COVID-19. 

Michigan Technical University developed the “Mobile Thermal Utility Sanitizer,” a container designed to sanitize medical protective equipment using heat. This week, members of the 107th Engineer Battalion from Ishpeming transported the 40-foot container over 600 miles from Michigan Tech University in Houghton to Taylor. High-capacity generators from the Michigan Air National Guard will supply the electricity required to operate the sanitizer.

“Innovation and partnership are critical components of the statewide COVID-19 response,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “The Michigan National Guard is proud to use our technical experts and unique capabilities to assist the State of Michigan.”

Since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the call-up of the Michigan National Guard on March 18, Guard members continue to support the response to COVID-19 as requests for assistance are received from local communities and state agencies. Areas of assistance include logistics aid for medical equipment, medical screening operations, planning augmentation, and support for construction of alternate care facilities. The Michigan National Guard has an additional 6,600 members ready to assist at the request of Michigan’s communities.

In coming days, guard members will assist during the process of gaining Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the sanitizer. Once approved, guard members are prepared to operate the Mobile Thermal Utility Sanitizer 24 hours a day.  In addition to operating the generators, they will arrange used medical protective equipment on trays in the container and sanitize them using the heating systems.