, Derry, New Hampshire

February 7, 2013

Derry man helps design germ-free ambulance

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — A Derry man’s idea for keeping spaces clean is paying off.

While attending a New England fire chiefs’ trade show last summer, Mark Brassard shared an idea with one ambulance company about ways to keep the vehicle’s interior cleaner and safer.

Now, his idea is coming off the production line.

Brassard, a former Marine, is interested in many things and had been studying the effects of atmospheric hydrogen radicals, or hydroxyls, on airborne and other surface-borne pathogens.

While at the show, he looked into the back of an ambulance and got an idea.

“I looked at all the equipment — hoses, gauges and dials inside the ambulance — and it dawned on me they were all places a virus or bacterium could hide,” he said.

Brassard said he knew the microscopic hydroxyls were made of some of the world’s smallest atoms and were capable of penetrating even the smallest nook and cranny to disinfect and decontaminate a surface.

It made sense to apply that to help keep ambulances sterile.

He approached several manufacturers at the trade show with his idea to place a hydroxyl generator into the vehicles.

One dealer, Cromwell Emergency Vehicles, took him seriously.

Cromwell president Barry Michael Bashkoff is an official dealer of Osage Ambulance Company. He said he was impressed with Brassard’s plan.

“He came into the Cromwell booth and started sketching out his idea of putting a hydroxyl purifier into an ambulance,” Bashkoff said. “The idea made a lot of sense to me.”

Brassard’s persistence paid off, Bashkoff said. Cromwell and Missouri-based Osage have rolled out the first ambulance with a built-in hydroxyl air and surface purifier.

The ambulance will be able to combat germs and minimize any cross-contamination of disease from patients to first responders.

Brassard said he’s always loved learning about science and the world.

He credits his love of science to his teachers at Pinkerton Academy. The 1977 graduate said his favorite classes were science with Brewster Bartlett and forestry with Bill Wood.

“The lessons they taught I remember to this day,” he said. “And who couldn’t love science? I grew up in the same town and went to the same school as America’s first man in space.”

Brassard said it’s only a matter of time before every ambulance has a built-in hydroxyl purifier.

There are other applications — schools, hospitals, restaurants, fitness clubs, offices and homes could benefit from the germ deterrent.

“Within five years, we’ll be seeing hydroxyl purifiers anywhere there’s mold, odors, germs or harmful chemicals,” he said. “The world will be a cleaner, safer place as a result.”