In 2003, the United States government planned to destroy part of its stockpile of chemical weapons in Anniston, Alabama. In case hazardous materials were released into the environment, local residents were instructed to follow a ‘Shelter in Place’ program. All residents had to take refuge in a small interior room with few or no windows.
The US government issued an air cleaner to all residents near the destruction site. Battelle Laboratories was charged with the task of choosing which air cleaner to use.
Battelle is the world’s largest, independent research and development organization. It is regularly used to assist the government in finding safe and effective methods of chemical weapons disposal. It was at the Battelle Laboratories that stringent tests were carried out to determine which air cleaner would give the best protection in the event of an emergency.
In tests using over 100 different models of air cleaners, the Austin Air cleaner was rated the highest performing. The tests concluded that Austin Air units provided the most effective air cleaning solution.
As a result, Austin Air cleaners were placed in over 28,000 homes in the Anniston area to protect residents in the event of a chemical disaster.
The HEPA technology used in Austin Air air purifiers was first developed back in the 1940s, as part of an assignment known as the Manhattan Project, which eventually led to the development of the atom bomb. The Manhattan Project scientists developed HEPA filtration as a way to effectively remove any nuclear fallout and ensure the safety of those on the project.
Today, HEPA filtration is still used in nuclear power plants, along with activated carbon, to prevent the radioactive release and protect public safety. Read more about the role of HEPA and carbon filtration inside nuclear power plants.
According to an EPA report, a significant amount of HEPA and Carbon must be used in your air purifier’s filtration otherwise filters will need to be changed often (every few months). That’s why the Austin Air HealthMate® has:
No one in the industry even comes close to using that much. This ensures a long filter life of up to 5 years.
“That’s the impact of Austin.”
According to Swiss law, every person must have a protected place that can be reached quickly from their place of residence. This is why many homes and places of work in Switzerland are fully equipped with fallout bunkers.
Shelters are equipped with reinforced steel doors, shelving that can stock a two-week supply of water, medications, non-perishable food, and most importantly, ventilation systems and anti-gas filters. The filters use a combination of HEPA, and up to 60 lbs. of impregnated carbon, similar to the filtration technology used in our units, that will help to protect against nuclear, biological, and chemical agents.
In times of crisis, selecting the right type of air filtration technology is vital. But watch out. The arrival of COVID-19 has left the internet full of manufacturers claiming that ‘HEPA type’ filters are just as effective as ‘True HEPA’ but with a much lower price tag. Please proceed with caution as ‘HEPA type’ filters are not regulated the same way ‘True HEPA’ is. This lack of regulation for ‘HEPA type’ filters means there is no guarantee that they will remove any large or small particles.
There is also much controversy around electronic air cleaners, including ESPs and ionizers. Electronic air cleaners displace particles by creating negative ions. But this process can result in the production of ozone, a pollutant that is extremely damaging to our health. Furthermore, electronic air cleaners do not remove gases, so they would be ineffective in a bunker.
It is also important to select an air purifier with an adequate output for the space. A bunker designed for 5 to 7 people would be around 400 square feet. Running an Austin on high in an area this size would guarantee almost five air changes per hour, far more than the 0.35 recommended by ASHRAE and the EPA.
While the news has everyone focused on the potential for nuclear war, the need for effective air filtration in times of crisis is an ongoing concern. COVID-19, wildfires, and volcanic eruptions have led to an unprecedented demand for clean, safe air free from contaminants.
Geologists are predicting that a volcanic eruption may be a possibility in the near future. The pollution resulting from volcanic eruptions is known as vog. Sulfur dioxide mixes with the atmosphere’s oxygen and water and produces compounds such as airborne sulfuric acid and hydrogen sulfide.
In the event of a volcanic eruption, it is best to have a purifier with activated carbon capable of purifying gases. The Austin Air Healthmate has over 780 cubic inches of Activated Carbon and Zeolite. Removes chemicals, gases, and odors.