EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 96th Medical Group teamed up with Eglin’s test community to find a way to health screen its employees quickly and safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 782nd Test Squadron’s seekers and sensors flight along with the Eglin Innovation Office filled a need with the Forward Looking Infrared system imager. It is a handheld infrared sensor that measures the surface temperatures of whatever is in its sights.
The measurements are used to identify if any 96th MDG personnel have elevated temperatures. Anyone above the acceptable range, undergoes additional screening prior to entry. This not only protects the staff but the patients and conserves valuable resources.
“The FLIR system helps us tremendously,” said Col. Matthew Hanson, 96th MDG commander. “We screen more than 1,000 healthcare quickly and accurately without causing them to aggregate in large groups. We appreciate the 782nd TS’s help in taking the fight to COVID-19.”
The FLIR can scan someone in approximately two seconds, whereas an oral temperature screening takes 30 seconds. This allows for rapid screening of 600 staff members every morning and 400 in the afternoons. The longest wait during peak arrival time is three to five minutes, according to Capt. Nick Detrick, 96th MDG staff physical therapist.
The partnership began when 782nd TS testers began 3D printing respirator mask prototypes for evaluation by the 96th MDG bioenvironmental engineering flight. Seeing the need and possible solution, the Innovation Office put the two units together. The prototypes are still under review and have not been approved for use yet.
Squadron personnel also began printing visor frames and bands to reduce pressure on 96th Mission Support Group mask wearer’s ears. The initial printed bands went to 96th Security Forces Squadron defenders and 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen.
The 782nd TS, who normally supports IR testing for the HH-60W Jolly Green II, continuously prints the bands. It takes 10 days to print 2,000 bands. The 96th MDG requested 2,000 masks, filters and straps from the test unit… enough to keep the printers continuously busy for the foreseeable future.
“We are happy to be able to use our testing technology to directly help those in need during this crisis. It shows how innovative thinking can find new and different ways to use existing equipment for an immediate, important purpose,” said Russell Bauldree, 782nd TS seekers and sensors test flight chief.