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Airport safety measures – do you feel safer?
Adrian Leopard 635

Airport safety measures – do you feel safer?

As time goes by there will be all sorts of new measures introduced to enhance your safety so life can return to normal

We floated the issue of safety while flying a week ago and now some of the measures which have been introduced at London Heathrow have been made public.


Innovation once again has been introduced and the first measure is something which looks like a large vacuum cleaner with several vertical strip lights. These units are uvd robots and in fact could be quite dangerous if you happen to be in the room with them when they are working. What they do is to “disinfect” the room with ultra violet light which destroys Covid-19. Originally these were developed for use in hospitals.


They do sound quite neat but apparently when they are first turned on the atmosphere has a tendency to smell like burning flesh. Somehow it is unlikely that these units will be available for the domestic market as they clearly have a certain “health and safety at work” factor to be observed. One can only imagine the effect on household pets.


Another use of uv light is under escalators. As the escalators go round, so they pass the light which does much the same job, thereby rendering the escalator much safer. In addition they are using some form of disinfected wrapping on escalators and also on the baggage trolley handles which makes touching these things a great deal safer. Similar protections can be found around lifts and other frequented locations.


Finally, cameras have now been installed which scan individuals with a view to checking whether they have a raised temperature or not. Quite what they will do with that information is less clear and is this perhaps just a step too far so far as personal scanning is concerned? Perhaps there is no issue there but it might be seen as an invasion of personal privacy. And an individual might have a raised temperature from causes other than Covid-19.


However it does show that operators like airports are taking steps to make their own environments safer for the general public to use. Do you feel that this would give you more confidence?


The problem is that this is not going to have much effect when getting close to people suffering from the virus and to that extent queueing for boarding is high risk and if the seats are all filled in the aircraft you may still end up sitting next to an infected individual.


The measures used in the airport, however, could perhaps be introduced in a wider way in public areas but it will be down to property operators to institute them. Perhaps in time uv cleaning will become one of the new normals.


Interestingly it has a certain similarity to the effects of chlorine in swimming pools. It has been a subject of some confusion that it has taken until now to re-open swimming pools when the chlorine in the water is a natural disinfectant, especially as it is being strengthened somewhat. Hence why you cannot use the swimming pool changing facilities before you swim but you can afterwards. For my money I should think a swimming pool is probably one of the safest places to be! May be it would be even safer if you passed your kit bag through a uv scanner on arrival. Perhaps that will be introduced soon as well.


It will be measures of this nature which are going to help to restore public confidence in going out; let’s hope the costs of installing these measures are affordable to small businesses.


Adrian Leopard 25-07-20


Photo Arthur Edelman

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