Ontario, CA Airport
New Mass Decontamination
Unit Handles 700
People An Hour
From The Sacramento Bee
ONTARIO, Calif. - Ontario International Airport has installed a decontamination system to clean biological and chemical toxins off 700 people per hour, becoming the first airport in the nation to have the high-tech unit.
The Los Angeles World Airport System, which owns and operates Ontario International, bought three of the $220,000 Mass Casualty Decon Systems. Two of them will be deployed at Los Angeles International Airport by January, Michael DiGirolamo, airport system director in Los Angeles, said Friday.
If people have been contaminated, they must take off their clothes and take a hot shower (80 degrees to 95 degrees) in a special solution of water, bleach and chemical that would neutralize the toxic agents they were exposed to, he said.
Men and women would go through different compartments. After the showers, they would have to wear paper suits until uncontaminated clothing could be brought to them. Personal belongings would be decontaminated separately, and some items may have to be destroyed, DiGirolamo said.
While other city fire departments, such as San Francisco, Seattle and Atlanta, have the decontamination system available to airports, the Los Angeles World Airport System is the first airport system in the world to have the units specifically for airport use only, he said.
The system, made by Modec Inc. of Denver, is housed in a trailer and pulled by a big-rig. It would be used in the event of an industrial accident or terrorist threat, said Peter L. Drinkwater, Ontario airport manager.
The Australian army has a contract with Modec to provide decontamination systems for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Next year, Modec expects to begin selling a special foam for anthrax developed by Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. The foam could be used in the Modec systems.