ST. LOUIS, Mo. – November 3, 2009 -- The same type of air filtration that is improving the air quality of a growing number of today’s homes is now helping to relieve symptoms of allergies, asthma and other chronic breathing problems for patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
With Emergency Department visits soaring by 30 percent this fall and the prospect for even more traffic from H1N1 patients, the hospital erected two tents in a parking ramp adjacent to the ER to handle anticipated overflow. Each of the 19 by 35-foot tents supplied by the St. Louis Area Regional Response System is ventilated, wired for telephones and electricity and equipped with BEAM HEPA Air Filtration Systems.
Emergency room visits have been soaring in recent weeks, averaging more than 200 patients per day since September. The tents give the hospital some breathing room to handle as many as 40 additional patients per day.
Among the challenges the hospital faced was creating an acceptable environment in the tents to treat patients. The parking garage location added to the challenge because the tents would be directly exposed to the outside air and the dust, vehicle emissions and allergens that would infiltrate the tents every time the door opened.
Stuart and Susan Krawll, owners of BEAM of St. Louis, the area’s largest central vacuum and air filtration system dealer, and long-time supporters of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, believed BEAM HEPA Air Filtration Systems offered a solution that would improve the air quality in the tents and thereby help relieve patients’ symptoms as soon as possible. They worked with the Children’s Hospital’s facilities team to install a system for each tent.
“In the installations we have done in homes in the St. Louis area, the BEAM HEPA Air Filtration Systems dramatically reduced airborne particulate counts in every case,” says Stuart. “We knew they could achieve similar indoor air quality improvement in the tents.”
The BEAM systems provide three stages of filtration: a first stage that removes larger particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a second stage HEPA filter, and a carbon filter that removes additional particulates.
To confirm the systems would meet the challenge, hospital officials conducted two particulate counts in each tent, one prior to turning the system on, and the other after the system had been operating for three hours. In one tent, the test showed a 38 percent decrease in particulates of 0.5 microns or larger from 2,867 particles before the system was activated to 1,755 particles afterward. Readings from the second tent registered a 47 percent reduction from 1,207 particles before the system was turned on to 639 particles after.
More sensitive particulate counters that can measure particles of 0.3 microns or larger showed the systems removed more than 70% of particulates from each tent.
The St. Louis Children’s Hospital systems marked the second time BEAM HEPA Filtration systems were brought in to improve air quality for temporary hospital settings. Officials at a Toronto hospital relied upon the systems in 2007 to minimize the spread of the SARS virus.
For more information about BEAM HEPA Filtration Systems, visit BEAM of St. Louis at www.beamstl.com.