In the previous post of “My Blog”, I introduced the all-out support given by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) to the anti-epidemic efforts to help protect the public in this critical time. This week, colleagues of various positions at the EMSD will continue to share with us how they have joined forces with other departments and stakeholders to complete a series of “seemingly impossible missions”.
Quick installation of electrical and mechanical facilities at Chun Yeung Estate
For the anti-epidemic work to be successful, one of the keys lies in the proper isolation of high-risk individuals. According to Senior Engineer (Health Sector) of the EMSD, Miss CHENG Shuk-fong, Justine, starting from the eve of the Chinese New Year, they had been receiving requests from the Department of Health (DH) for support services in making available a large number of quarantine units at Chun Yeung Estate in Fo Tan within a short period of time. Due to the tight schedule, the EMSD had to organise a cross-divisional project team in an instant, mobilising about 70 staff members to install electrical and mechanical (E&M) equipment in phases, which included about 3 200 gas water heaters and more than 16 000 sets of lighting units, at more than 3 000 residential units in the estate, so that they would be ready for persons under quarantine to move in.
Establishing mutual trust with other departments
Faced with an overwhelming workload, the EMSD’s Chief Technical Officer (Health Sector), Mr TANG Choi-chin, describes the entire mission as a rather arduous task, the success of which depends on a very important factor - mutual trust. According to Mr TANG, it was thanks to the leadership of the Food and Health Bureau, the support of the DH and the assistance offered by other departments, such as the ample coordination and seamless communication between the Housing Department, industry contractors, the Civil Aid Service and the Government Logistics Department, that this seemingly impossible mission could be accomplished with the operational needs of the quarantine centres being met within as short as a period of two months.
Retrofitting general wards into isolation wards
Without a doubt, to win the war against this epidemic, the Government and the community must work together. In early February this year, having considered the rapidly evolving situation of the outbreak, the Hospital Authority (HA) decided to increase the number of isolation facilities in hospitals to meet emergency needs. The EMSD’s Engineer (Health Sector), Mr YIP Wai-tong, and his colleagues were tasked to assist in retrofitting 11 wards in seven hospitals, with a total of about 300 beds, into “Tier-2 isolation wards” in about one month.
To this end, in collaboration with the HA and the industry, the EMSD completed the design, development and installation of a number of Mobile Modular High Efficiency Particulate Air Units (Mobile HEPA Units) in a short time to filter the air in the wards for discharge outdoors. To prevent infection, retrofitted wards are also enhanced with additional ventilation and extraction facilities so that the unhygienic air in the wards can be diluted or removed. It takes about two weeks to retrofit a general ward using a Mobile HEPA Unit, significantly reducing the time required to convert a general ward into a negative pressure ward using the conventional method.
Working overnight to complete the mission
The EMSD’s Air-conditioning Inspector, Mr LEUNG Wing-hang, says that the suppliers of Mobile HEPA Units were in the early stage of resuming work after the Lunar New Year. The production was limited and the transport arrangement was difficult, which made the delivery time very unstable. Subsequently, with the efforts of our colleagues and suppliers who worked overnight for days, the mission was finally completed. As of August, more than 200 Mobile HEPA Units had been provided to the hospitals in need by the EMSD, resulting in the increase of about 500 Tier-2 negative pressure beds. Besides, upon the requests of the HA, the EMSD also urgently provided more than 30 Mobile HEPA Units to the community treatment facility at the AsiaWorld-Expo for better indoor ventilation.
Installation of mobile air handling units in markets
In view of the third wave of the epidemic, some markets have become high-risk areas and the gate-keeping duties of frontline staff are very important. The EMSD’s Engineer (Municipal), Mr WAN Lap-hang, says that mobile air handling units have been specially installed in about 30 markets across the territory to improve ventilation and increase air change rates inside the markets. If suspected cases involving market operation are found, the EMSD will immediately inspect the ventilation systems in the markets and arrange cleaning of their filters. Colleagues have also installed body temperature screening systems at the entrance/exit areas of 28 markets to enhance temperature screening efficiency to prevent the spread of the epidemic.
Proactively supporting Universal Community Testing Programme
Residential care homes for the elderly were one of the hardest-hit areas during the third wave of the epidemic. In response to the requests of the Social Welfare Department, EMSD colleagues promptly visited a number of residential care homes for inspection, including those hardest hit by the epidemic. Besides, the EMSD proactively supported the Universal Community Testing Programme and coordinated closely with various bureaux and departments. Manpower was deployed to the air-inflated laboratory at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Centre to retrofit the electrical installations and ventilation systems within a short period of time, and provide the venue with 24-hour E&M emergency repair services to support the round-the-clock operation of the laboratory. Staff were also deployed to examine the E&M and ventilation facilities of about 200 venues in the territory within a few days to provide professional advice and suggestions on the suitability of related venues for use as specimen collection centres from the ventilation point of view.
During the epidemic, while providing the essential and emergency public services to the public uninterruptedly, EMSD colleagues have been sparing no effort to work with other departments and all sectors of society to accomplish many difficult tasks. I am so proud of them and deeply believe that, with the concerted efforts of the Government and the general public, Hong Kong will definitely win the battle against the virus.
20 September, 2020Back