A Safer Return to Work and School
Safety Protocols Key to Starting Up Fall Activities and Ending Pandemic
Dr. Lane Rolling has spent three decades practicing safety protocols in all kinds of medical settings. For Rolling, who has been fighting tropical and infectious diseases in the Amazon jungles for the past 14 years, following protocols to protect his health is second nature and often a matter of life and death.
He believes these same types of protocols must be instituted all across the U.S in organizations large and small, at home and at work, if we are to have any hope of returning to a functional economy and education system. He has been traveling from meeting to meeting and agreeing to media interview after media interview to share this message.
“I’ve been preaching this for the past five months,” said Rolling, who left his home base in Cusco, Peru on March 3 and has been visiting with business, education and government leaders from coast to coast.
“To protect yourself and avoid dying from COVID-19, you have to follow biosecurity protocols. You have to have great procedures, and if you stay within those biosecurity protocols, your chance of getting infected is very minimal. It’s almost impossible for you to get infected,” he added.
As a certified chemical and biological warfare expert, Rolling brings his unique real-world experience to the war on COVID-19. He is the founder and director of clinical education for TPaIDA (Tropical Pathology & Infectious Disease Association), where he coordinates education in the basic science, diagnosis and treatment of infectious tropical diseases and medical missions to countries around the world.
He describes seeing babies die as mothers cried in remote villages. He has treated malaria and rabies epidemics, and dealt with diseases that ate the faces off of its victims.
“I’ve helped sick people a million times. They know my heart. Some speak different languages, but my heart is pure. Kids can sense when you are pure,” he said.
He is also licensed, board certified and experienced in hospitals in orthopedic specialties including foot, ankle and limb salvage, surgical procedures and reconstructive and trauma operations. He completed his residency and internship at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii and served in the U.S. Army for four years of active duty and two years on reserve. He earned his medical doctor degree from the University of Health Sciences Antigua and doctor of podiatric medicine degree from the California College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery.
Systems Ready for COVID-19
In June, Rolling became the chief medical officer of SRS (Systems Ready Solutions) Inc., a Tennessee-based, minority-owned corporation providing disaster response services. All of the corporate leadership positions of SRS are held by African Americans. The company currently has 300 employees, though the number of employees goes up and down depending on the project load, explained CEO Charles Pickett.
The company’s website boasts of its awards of more than 300 federal, state and private sector projects with contract values totaling more than $1 billion. Founded 19 years ago, its experience includes contracts for response efforts during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike as well as tornadoes and other major disasters. Its services include helping its clients maintain the effectiveness and functionality of facilities including architectural, electrical and mechanical systems, as well as routine, preventative and emergency maintenance and repair, major systems service and design-build renovation needs.
Rolling is helping the company develop several services and products that can integrate into protocols for eliminating the risk of COVID-19, when opening facilities to large numbers of people. These COVID-19 Prevention and Disaster Management Services include biosafety training programs, building testing, and construction, project and facility management. SRS has products to integrate into those services such as a disinfectant and antiseptic hand sanitizer that can be purchased and used by any size facility and even at homes.
Pickett explained, “You control your environment – you control your spread of the virus. It’s spreading because people are not in protected environments. If you have a plan based on science and medicine alone, you not only can mitigate risk but can find out where the virus is and seek and destroy it.”
If Pickett and Rolling sound like they are talking battle strategy when they describe the company’s approach to COVID-19, it’s not only because they truly believe they are fighting a war against the disease and the novel coronavirus that causes it. They are also speaking from a military perspective, as Rolling is just one of the 70 percent of the company’s leaders with military experience.
Their current mission is to convince American leaders to adopt protocols for stopping the spread of the deadly disease that would allow employees, students and travelers to return to work, school and other important economic and social activities. The social or physical distancing instituted widely to stop new infections and outbreaks, while effective, is having many negative consequences. This summer, report after report has shown how distancing policies have led to unprecedented unemployment, inability to pay bills, company bankruptcies, domestic violence, child hunger, and other detrimental economic and social impacts.
“Not having football games will not stop people from contracting the virus,” Pickett explained. “But, if we can go somewhere that is controlled environmentally, we’ll be in lot better position as a nation.”
Testing and Disinfecting Air and Surfaces
Controlling the environment inside of buildings starts with testing it to determine whether the virus exists on its inside surfaces or ventilation system. Rolling said SRS can test facilities to detect if the genetic material of the virus is present, with results back in 90 minutes.
“The most important thing in testing is to have 99 to 100 percent accuracy. We have done that, and want to take what we have done in the lab into the field to airplanes, homes, churches, and everywhere,” he said.
His company has been testing in hotels, nursing homes, schools and a growing diversity of locations. When the virus is found, the building is then disinfected.
ProGuardeum Disinfectant Solution is the company’s product, made with hypochlorous acid. This chlorine solution, approved by the EPA and FDA, has been used since 1858 for many purposes from washing food to cleaning contact lenses, according to Rolling.
“It’s used as a disinfectant on cruise ships, in surgery, and by the military to kill Ebola. It’s a game changer that’s not a chemical but a natural green solution. We’ve made it better with our patented technology,” he said. “ProGuardeum is a broad-spectrum microorganism-killing solution.”
While it can be used in wiping down or spraying surfaces in houses, schools, businesses, and any environment, it does not need to be rinsed off and it leaves no residue, according to SRS. The company also has door mats with ProGuardeum to disinfect shoe bottoms, misting bottles for use in individual rooms, and air-filtration units to kill COVID-19 in the air, all of which can be used in different sizes of buildings.
The Xtreme Disinfectant Cube was developed as another ProGuardeum delivery device. The Cube is a mobile structure that can be placed at entranceways, where people walk through and get disinfected by a dry mist in three to four seconds.
Rolling was involved in the Cube’s development, and said repeated uses are safe. “It has been used by several hotels in Las Vegas. I see this being placed in front of airports, football stadiums, and many locations,” he said.
Describing holding hands with young students who walked through the Cube being demonstrated at their school, he said, “Kids walked through it like it was normal. Their parents were even happier about it.”
Screening People and Sanitizing Hands
A person with COVID-19 can have their skin, clothes and belongings disinfected, but still infect others through spreading spit and mucous through the air or on surfaces, and by using the toilet. Once a building is made safe by disinfection, protocols must be put into place to keep it safe including making sure no infected people enter.
“When you break protocol, it can get you killed. Once a building has been protected for COVID-19, you must set up how people can function in that environment so people do not infect each other,” he said.
SRS offers facial recognition monitors to help screen people in large public settings and disposable thermometers for homes, offices and smaller settings. Plus, the company offers information, instructions and training on protocols to suit diverse situations and budgets.
“We want to make sure we are on the front lines, not just providing services for big companies and corporations. We are making sure we can give individuals the same technology,” he said. “Every American home, every home on the planet should have our procedures.”
Another weapon in the fight to stay disease-free is the company’s Safe Palms Hand Sanitizer, with chlorhexidine as its antiseptic ingredient. This is another non-alcohol-based disinfectant used by surgeons to sterilize their hands, surgical instruments, and patients during treatment.
“We’ve taken it to another level. We’ve modified it and made different concentrations for children and adults, and the protection lasts 24 hours,” he said.
Time to Take Action
In the last few months, Rolling has lost 22 of his colleagues in Peru to COVID-19. Doctors specializing in infectious diseases and emergency response, who were his friends, died from the disease.
“This pandemic is very real. When I think about COVID-19 and my three grandchildren, I will not let you put them in school when it is not safe,” he said. “The first thing I would ask is: has your building been tested and certified compliant for not having COVID-19?”
Without all the protocols in place, he is certain outbreaks will happen and the disease and death will spread to families and communities. “If you understand the science, you understand the medicine. My responsibility as chief medical officer is not to make money; my chief responsibility to SRS is to save lives,” he said.
Corporate and community leaders are starting to take heed. Gabe Lindsay learned about Rolling’s information campaign from Ralph Simpson, who had invited the doctor on his Denver-based radio program. Lindsay wasn’t just a fan of the program he is the nephew of Simpson’s wife.
“They kept telling me I have to hear Dr. Rolling,” said Lindsay who is one of the founders of The Nation Youth Football League in Denver. “My intent was to get with SRS to help us with protocols so we could have a football season this year. He helped us with protocols to use when it comes to players during practices and when it comes to players and their families on game day in the stadium.”
Lindsay is also the owner of N&G Enterprises, a company that operates the LOUD marijuana dispensary. For that business, he was able to purchase ProGuardeum and Safe Palms Sanitizer.
“It’s as affordable as you want it to be, not one size fits all. In an ideal world, you would want everything the company has to offer. Even for me in the dispensary realm, they have stuff I would love to get but it’s just not feasible,” he said.
He wonders why organizations like the NBA and city government have yet to implement the building-wide safety protocols like those recommended by Rolling. Lindsay is a believer, early adopter, and is making opportunities for Rolling to share his expertise with other community leaders.
“I’m trying to figure this all out like everyone else. I had to do my research on what SRS if offering, because I definitely don’t want to put something out there that harms my business and the youth in the community,” he said.
Avoiding the Disaster of Delayed Reopening
Lindsay’s main goal is to get the youth out and active. While he’s putting the protocols in place, he will ultimately have to follow the lead of the Colorado High School Athletics Association. He shared Rolling’s recommendations with the association as well.
“COVID-19 is not going away soon. Our normal way of living is done, so we need to figure out what our new normal looks like,” he said. “These youth need activities and not to be cooped up. My family and my community need to get back to some sort of normalcy. There’s a lot on the line. At the end of the day, lives are on the line, too.”
Staying home from school is “scarring the life chances of a generation of young people” stated a letter signed by more than 1,500 members of the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health. The problem is just as serious across the oceans.
During his recent travels, Rolling observed, “We have 3,000 Black kids in Lexington, Miss. These kids only get food at school, and if they’re not in school, they don’t eat. We need to get them back as soon as we can, in the best way we can.”
This sentiment is shared by many educators across Colorado. With social or physical distancing as the only proven way of stopping the spread of the disease in the state so far, other educators are concerned about bringing students, teachers and coaches back together. Masks alone may not be enough to protect in a school environment, besides the fact that many people refuse to wear masks or don’t wear them properly.
To produce a COVID-19 risk-free environment, “we need to decide that the money to help mitigate the risks needs to be committed and directed towards this effort,” Rolling said.
As far as his company’s capability to respond with enough products and services to meet the demand from institutions across the nation, he said, “I’m a military guy so I hate the word ‘no’. I believe in a can-do attitude. We can make 63,000 gallons of ProGuardeum a week now. If we need more, we can get that online and can make it happen.”
“We can scale up in 72 hours and really scale up in month. We can train custodial crews and key people. Time is very critical here,” he concluded.
Editor’s note: For information on SRS, visit www.srsincorp.com/