DMFD Gets Creative with New Tool to Combat Coronavirus

DES MOINES, IOWA — Wednesday, March 25, 2020 – The Des Moines Fire Department has a new tool for decontaminating emergency response vehicles that may have been exposed to COVID-19: a paint sprayer that coats surfaces with a common swimming pool disinfectant.

The paint sprayer is filled with a solution made from SoftSwim — an EPA-approved, hydrogen peroxide-based swimming pool purifier — which kills the coronavirus in a matter of minutes when applied properly. The department trained firefighters this week on using the paint sprayer to sanitize ambulances, cots and any other surfaces that may have been contaminated. 

“For weeks, our team has been focusing on how we can continue saving lives and serving the public during this pandemic, while keeping our responders safe and healthy because their work does not stop,” shared DMFD Captain Bob Suarez.

“With traditional decontamination supplies out of stock, we had to be resourceful. We heard from another fire department that had successfully implemented this system to fight COVID-19, and we decided it was the right step to take in protecting our team and those we serve.”

Protocol for using the paint sprayer as a sanitizer includes wearing impermeable protective gear and letting the solution sit on potentially contaminated surfaces for at least five minutes. The fire department has also prepared COVID-19 response kits including hazmat suits, masks and sanitizers to be used when responding to potential coronavirus cases.

 While the coronavirus situation continues to rapidly change, the City of Des Moines is working to ensure essential municipal services are maintained as much as possible. A full list of the latest municipal service impacts for Des Moines residents is available at

For the most current updates related to COVID-19, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website


Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office 
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.