BAYONNE — We've all done it: Gone overboard trying to sanitize everything in sight to ward off COVID-19.

A New Jersey company has devised an efficient way to clean one of our most sensitive surroundings, with the added benefit of a small footprint and an adaptability that may expand its usefulness far beyond the Garden State.

The MEDS Unit, patent pending, is short for Modular Electrostatic Disinfection System, and was developed by Bayonne-based Frontline Innovations. It was prototyped for Neptune Township EMS, which has installed the technology in its entire ambulance fleet.

Frontline co-owner Michael McCabe said it usually takes 90 to 120 minutes to properly sanitize an ambulance after use, which is precious time to keep an emergency vehicle out of rotation.

"The whole premise behind this MEDS Unit is the fact that you can do it in 30 to 45 seconds, let it dry for three to five minutes, and be back in service," he said. "We realized that we have to do, as an industry, a better job making sure that the backs of these ambulances are cleaner on a regular basis."

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Brian Borow, Frontline's other co-owner, said this is the only disinfectant spray system of its kind put to use in a vehicle.

Given their backgrounds, both men were especially motivated to pursue this concept when COVID set upon New Jersey; McCabe is a paramedic and owns an ambulance service, while Borow is a retired police detective with 30 years of EMT experience.

McCabe said during the initial surge of the virus last spring, New Jersey lost 14 EMTs to COVID-19. But among those who have worked with the MEDS Unit in place, he said only one person has gotten sick from an on-the-job exposure.

Plus, it naturally offers better protection for patients being transported.

The system is similar to, though not as hands-on as, a spray deployed by Hudson Regional Hospital since April of last year. However, both applications were borne out of agricultural use.

Borow said using the MEDS Unit, once installed in a vehicle, is as easy as flipping two switches, plus the occasional refill.

Frontline Innovations is not promoting any particular disinfecting agent in its patent — it's the technology that matters.

That technology may soon find its way to other vehicles, like school buses, McCabe said.

"We know who rides them, our kids, and we certainly know that they're Petri dishes, germ carriers, all the time," he said. "Every vehicle is different, so you have to find out the 'sweet spot' in that vehicle where this can fit nicely, be accessed to refill the canister."

Frontline is also in contact with day care and urgent care centers about possible future installations.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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