CRPF develops reusable protective suit for COVID-19 warriors

The 97th Battalion Rapid Action Force (RAF) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Avadi, has developed a reusable microbial preventive suit that can be used by frontline workers engaged in COVID-19 prevention duties.

The pandemic has led to an increase in the manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE). A PPE kit, used once, needs to be disposed of so that the virus does not spread. The microbial preventive suit is an advanced version of the PPE.

“Our main intention is to protect our own troops doing COVID-19 duties. Now that health workers, police personnel and other frontline workers are affected by the novel coronavirus, we feel it is our duty to extend this service to them,” RAF Chief Commandant Erick Gilbert Jose said.

The reusable suit is a brainchild of Mr. Jose, who led his troops in counter- terror operations at sub-zero temperatures in Jammu and Kashmir. The men under him were clad with three inners, uniforms, jackets and parka coats while walking in four-five feet of snow. Realising the difficulties faced by them, Mr. Jose started research to develop a new vest that can stop the chill, while being comfortable and light.

Even after he was shifted to Chennai, he continued the research. The RAF is being deployed in many places to enforce the lockdown and to assist the police and health workers.

“We purchased PPE kits from the market and found that they were made of non-woven fabric, which does not stop water. If water can penetrate, viruses can also penetrate. I visualised a microbial protective suit that can prevent any virus and water leak. Later, we developed the suit and tested it on 30 people in each company,” Mr. Jose said.

The materials were presented to the Tamil Nadu Health Department, and the suit was approved by the South India Textile Research Association.

The suit is made of three pieces — one is the shoe cover which extends up to the knee, the other is the upper portion and the third is a trouser. The normal PPE is made of non-woven fabric, which is uncomfortable to wear. But the microbial preventive suit is made of high quality woven cloth, and contains no cotton to ensure the suit is not heavy. “It can be easily sanitised with soap water… so that the novel coronavirus is destroyed immediately,” the officer said.

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