Since the outbreak of COVID-19 at the beginning of this year, the Government has been highly vigilant. As one of the departments, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) has always carried out its duties faithfully with the utmost determination and perseverance, assisting various departments and public organisations in their provision of professional services to respond to the immediate needs of the community. For two weeks in a row, I will share with you the EMSD’s anti-epidemic efforts here in “My Blog”. This week we have the Director of the Electrical and Mechanical Services, Mr PANG Yiu-hung, to talk about the department’s vital supporting role in our fight against the epidemic. Two other colleagues of the EMSD will share with us their “no ordinary mission” and the challenges they have encountered in the process.
Helping to retrofit general wards into isolation wards
In this epidemic, all government departments have their individual roles to play. According to Mr PANG Yiu-hung, the EMSD mainly provides technical assistance and professional advice in respect of engineering works. For example, the department serves hospitals, clinics, testing centres and quarantine facilities by installing electrical and mechanical (E&M) facilities and ensuring their normal operation. Also, working with the Hospital Authority and the industry, the department completed the design and installation of Mobile Modular High Efficiency Particulate Air Units in a short time so that some of the general medical wards could be retrofitted into second-tier isolation wards with negative pressure function, strengthening the hospitals’ ability to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic.
Installing body temperature checking systems
To prevent the spread of the epidemic, identifying potential infected persons in the community is one of the effective methods. Mr PANG Yiu-hung says that at the early stage of the outbreak, colleagues of the EMSD promptly installed body temperature screening systems in many government venues such as government buildings, boundary control points, and leisure and recreational facilities to strengthen body temperature screening, enhancing the efficiency of this method to prevent the spread of the epidemic. So far, about 380 systems have been installed. Once the system detects a person with abnormal or higher body temperature, it will have a display on the monitor and an alarm will be sent to alert management staff to take follow-up actions.
Deep disinfection of ambulances
The EMSD has all along been responsible for maintenance and repair of most government vehicles. During the epidemic, the EMSD has provided deep cleaning services in response to the operational requests of various departments. The maintenance centre at the EMSD Headquarters in Kowloon Bay mainly repairs ambulances. Regional Manager (Vehicle) of the EMSD, Mr CHU Yee-kong, says the EMSD staff will carry out deep cleaning and disinfection for the air-conditioning systems of ambulances in accordance with the requests and guidelines of the Fire Services Department.
He says that once the department was informed of the need to perform such duties, corresponding training and guidelines were provided to the colleagues, for example guiding the frontline staff through the steps of putting on personal protective gear to avoid contact with infectious agents at work. The biggest challenge is to carry out disinfection for the vehicles which have taken patients of confirmed cases of COVID-19. Since these disinfection cases are usually unforeseeable, colleagues have to put aside their work immediately when receiving such requests and deploy staff to conduct disinfection for the ambulances.
Withstanding pressure to complete the missions
Working for the EMSD for 10 years, Technician I, Mr CHAN Chun-bun, is mainly responsible for the repair of ambulances. In view of the epidemic, he also carries out deep cleaning for the air-conditioning of ambulances, including changing air-conditioner filters, cleaning air vents and exhaust fans, etc. So far, he has cleaned about 20 ambulances. He says that although there are risks involved in the work, colleagues have withstood the pressure and they hope that ambulancemen and patients will feel relieved after the deep cleaning procedures.
Mr CHAN Chun-bun admits that he was a bit worried about such work at first. As there are children in his family, he is afraid that he might get infected unknowingly and spread the virus to his family, so he checks his body temperature every day before entering home. However, he was greatly relieved when he knew that the department would provide standard protective gear for the staff and had discussed with the Fire Services Department the provision of a set of guidelines for their reference. He hopes that the epidemic will end as soon as possible so that people can return to their normal life.
Grateful to colleagues for tiding over difficult times
During the epidemic, the EMSD has other “no ordinary missions”, for example, racing against time to install E&M equipment for quarantine facilities, as well as body temperature checking systems and mobile particulate arrestance units at various premises, in order to effectively overcome the challenges brought by the epidemic. I will give a detailed introduction in my next blog. As the Director has said, during the past half year or so, all colleagues have been fully committed to their work with perseverance and dedication, and tided over difficulties to proactively join in the fight against the virus, making every seemingly impossible mission possible with a view to safeguarding us all. We are so proud of them.
13 September, 2020Back