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Team Mildenhall cleaning team: a necessary preparation in COVID-19 fight

A Team Mildenhall Airman dons a paper fiber suit during training for the cleaning team at RAF Mildenhall, England, April 15, 2020. Consisting of Airmen from every unit on base, the cleaning team is trained to sanitize facilities housing isolated dorm resident and transient service members if contracted cleaners are unable to do so. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

A Team Mildenhall Airman dons a paper fiber suit during training for the cleaning team at RAF Mildenhall, England, April 15, 2020. Consisting of Airmen from every unit on base, the cleaning team is trained to sanitize facilities housing isolated dorm resident and transient service members if contracted cleaners are unable to do so. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Borquez, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management logistics noncommissioned officer in charge, instructs a Team Mildenhall Airman on the proper amount of household bleach needed to create a cleaning solution at RAF Mildenhall, England, April 15, 2020. Cleaning-team members use chemicals that would destroy any potential Coronavirus remaining on common surfaces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Borquez, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management logistics noncommissioned officer in charge, instructs a Team Mildenhall Airman on the proper amount of household bleach needed to create a cleaning solution at RAF Mildenhall, England, April 15, 2020. Cleaning-team members use chemicals that would destroy any potential Coronavirus remaining on common surfaces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

A Team Mildenhall Airman simulates spraying a bleach solution as part of his cleaning-team training at RAF Mildenhall, England, April 15, 2020. The base cleaning team is a precautionary force established to fight the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and wellness of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

A Team Mildenhall Airman simulates spraying a bleach solution as part of his cleaning-team training at RAF Mildenhall, England, April 15, 2020. The base cleaning team is a precautionary force established to fight the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and wellness of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

A Team Mildenhall member places an advisory sign on the outside of a dorm room as part of cleaning-team training at RAF Mildenhall, England, April 15, 2020. Cleaning-team members are trained to sanitize facilities that house isolated Airmen if contracted cleaning companies are unable to due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

A Team Mildenhall member places an advisory sign on the outside of a dorm room as part of cleaning-team training at RAF Mildenhall, England, April 15, 2020. Cleaning-team members are trained to sanitize facilities that house isolated Airmen if contracted cleaning companies are unable to due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

RAF Mildenhall, England --

The 100th Air Refueling Wing, 352nd Special Operations Wing and other mission partners at RAF Mildenhall, England, have contributed forces to assemble a group Airmen committed to the health of base personnel.

The creation of the base “cleaning team” is one of many steps the installation has taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Comprised of members from every unit of Team Mildenhall, and trained by Airmen from the 100th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management Office, the team serves as a backup that can be called upon if companies contracted to clean facilities housing isolated dorm resident and transient Airmen are unable to do so.

“This was a tasker fulfilled by each unit’s chief,” said Tech. Sgt. Kristina Ramos, 100th CES emergency management plans noncommissioned officer in charge. “They hand-selected the individuals that form the cleaning teams.”

The team is not currently being used to sanitize facilities designated as isolation locations for Airmen, but the members are being trained should they need to be activated.

“As of right now, the cleaning team is precautionary,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Borquez, 100th CES emergency management logistics noncommissioned officer in charge. “We have contract support to clean. If for some reason we are not able to utilize the contractors, that’s when we’ll have the cleaning team come in and do the cleaning. It’s a plan B.”
 
The cleaning team would disinfect the temporary living quarters of Airmen who had been isolated as a precaution due to showing symptoms similar to Coronavirus.  The members would wear personal protective equipment and use virus-destroying chemicals to ensure the rooms are safe for future use.
 
“As far as PPE is concerned, we’re using about three different coverall suits,” Borquez said. “They’re basically a paper fiber suit that will protect them from whatever is in there. The cleaning solution is the appropriate combination of household bleach and water recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.”
 
As installation wellness is a key concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing the cleaning team isn’t an undue safeguard.

“It’s to maintain the health of our force and make sure we minimize the exposure,” Ramos said. “Coronavirus is unique because it may last on surfaces a lot longer than other viruses, so keeping that in control and ensuring we’re not putting people at risk is the premise of the clean team.”