Are we lacking in innovation or technology? Has the leadership of our elected officials failed us? Has the media reported the real story during this pandemic? These are rhetorical questions that require answers.
The speed and scope of the COVID 19 or coronavirus crisis poses extraordinary challenges for many of our leaders and institutions. It is truly understandable how uneasy the public feels about our future. We can debate about the lack of clear communications and uncertainty from leadership and media outlets across the board.
Social distancing, mandated curfews, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, peaceful protest, riots, looting, defunding police departments, media misinformation, removing statues, the overall increase in crime and violence nationwide, the lack of law and order all contribute to uncertainty and cause for alarm in the general public.
Some irresponsible politicians, elected officials, community activists, community organizers, celebrities, sports figures and some media outlets have engaged in fueling the fire of misinformation with unfounded and subjective incendiary rhetoric.
With all of this going on, our first responders and the public safety community have been working tirelessly to ensure our safety. Taking the time to recognize that they are our front line of defense, they place themselves in harm’s way every day which is truly commendable.
Leaders ask questions and are forward thinking, always looking for answers and demanding solutions. (Krivich, n.d.) The ongoing critique of how leadership is failing us across party lines and never providing solutions has become daunting. The goal and objective right now should be focused on reducing the harmful effects of the pandemic and focusing on returning to normal.
The emergency management community has been doing just that. Emergency management can best be defined as a state of readiness to respond to a disaster, crisis or any other type of emergency. (Principles of Emergency Management, 2007) Emergency management has been established and embraced in academic circles as well as the public and private safety sectors on using the best-applied practice to mitigate the impact of any disaster. During a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, Dr Fauci reiterated that mitigation efforts must be taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus. (Coronavirus Task Force in Press Briefing/ The White House, 2020)
According to FEMA mitigation is defined as, the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. (FEMA, 2020) How have our leaders and institutions implemented mitigation factors to protect us, as we are all trying to get our lives back to normal? Have they been effective with some states seeing an uptick in possible COVID 19 cases?
As State leaders begin the reopening process they must consider the safety and well-being of all parties involved, all while reducing their liability factors. Business owners and leaders of government agencies as well as our educational institutions need to protect their customers, employees, students, faculty and staff. They are all scrambling to figure out the best way to accomplish protecting all parties involved.
During a recent trip to Maryland, I was very fortunate to become acquainted with a very unique product made by a company called Novatec Inc. subsidiary MachineSense. Many refer to Maryland as “America in miniature” because of it having such a big significance in our American history. (Maryland Facts, n.d.) Maryland is also known to have a large military and government presence, so one would not be surprised by the irony of discovering this amazing product at a local Maryland business. The device is known as FeverWarn, it will increase mitigation efforts against this worldwide pandemic we are facing.
This product would address some of the major concerns with reopening many of our educational and government institutions as well as various private sector businesses, all while adding an additional layer of access control, that would limit the possible exposure to COVID19.
With the re-opening of some businesses, schools and government offices, we have all become familiar with the common practice of having someone violate the CDC 6-foot social distancing guidelines to have our temperature taken with an infrared (IR) non-contact temperature gauge to grant or deny us access to an establishment. Some of us may have been scanned by Thermal Imaging Temperature Screening that incorporates Facial Recognition software that is also designed to record our body temperature and grant or deny access to a facility. There may however, be an accuracy issue when the subject is wearing a mask, sunglasses, hat or having facial or head hair covering their face. In some cases the Thermal Imaging Temperature Screening device that incorporates Facial Recognition will not record an accurate reading of our body temperature due to failure to recognize the elevated temperature because of the obstructions listed above. This and other systems are noble ideas to mitigate against additional exposure to the COVID 19.
As an active emergency manager and advocate for best-practiced methods for public and private safety and security sector, I am always looking to enhance the all-hazard approach to safety and security. Upon being granted access to Novatec Inc. I had to use their access control system and follower their procedures. The first step was that the security officer on the inside of the building directed me to the FeverWarn device that was mounted near the buildings front door entrance, the security officer then instructed me to place my hand in the form of a fist and place it under this non-contact machine that used an infrared sensor to take my body temperature.
After I placed my closed fist beneath the scanner, within 2-3 seconds, the light on top of this machine turned blue indicating that I could remove my fist from under the sensor as it was reading my core body temperature. The light then turned green indicating to the access control officer that there was no elevated temperature or fever detected and that it was okay to proceed to unlock the entrance door and allow my entrance into the facility.
The process to gain entry intrigued my professional curiosity and I wanted to know more about this unique device and innovative technology. I stopped and asked the access control officer what would have happened if I had an elevated body temperature? He said, the light on top would have turned red detecting that I had an elevated body temperature, which is one of the signs of COVID 19, and that he would have denied me access to the building and the door would have remained locked.
My inquiry went further, and I needed to know more about this access control device. The compliance officer took the time to explain that it was a machine designed as a screening method to detect elevated body temperature called FeverWarn. FeverWarn was created by their subsidiary company; MachineSense, which was located right across the street.
The product FeverWarn was designed with innovative technology that measures the accurate temperature of the human body through the person’s fist in two seconds or less. (Packham & Fok, 2012) After speaking with the company and the co-founder of MachineSense, Dr. Biplab Pal, he stated that, “Many journal papers suggest the human fist is a viable option for conducting a temperature check in the human body.” (Rainer Lenhardt, 2006)
As I continued to discuss FeverWarn with Dr. Biplad Pal, he explained that infrared skin temperature can be taken in many places on the human body, especially those regions where arterial blood flow is present, including the fist. He said the fist was an accurate way to correlate with mean body temperature (MBT), which is used to measure a fever. (Joon-Ho & Loftness, 2012)
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it was specified “that fever is one of the common coronavirus symptoms.” (COVID-19- Symptoms, 2020)
The idea behind checking body temperature and implementing FeverWarn to your existing access control is to mitigate the potential exposure to your customers, students, visitors and/or other faculty and staff members.
The FeverWarn Advanced Infrared Temperature Screening System is not only an added line of defense to your access control system it also offers reporting software to your existing operating system or into a cloud that allows detailed record keeping and reports that reduces liability issues and future litigation cost. Dr. Biplab Pal explained that the system also easily integrates into most existing systems as well as other auxiliary devices such as automatic door locks, access key cards, and CCTV security systems. (PC, 2020)
The additional features that have been incorporated into the unit are a 16GB storage unit, multiple USB ports, WIFI wireless access as well as a hardwired ethernet. The cellular phone app and cloud systems that works hand and hand with the FeverWarn Advanced Infrared Temperature Screening System, which seem to be user friendly provides a liability log as well as having a unit calibration log and report that can also be used as legal records. (PC, 2020)
Dr Biplab Pal was very proud to say: “This product is proudly made in the United States of America.” (PC, 2020)
During this pandemic, multiple agencies and outlets have taken the opportunity to blame one another all while trying to utter their vision of leadership or lack thereof. During tough times leaders take control and lead by example and look for solutions, not blame others. By taking a leadership role and looking for answers during tough times, MachineSense is a leader in protecting life. They wanted solutions and took the opportunity and more importantly saw the demand to help and that is exactly what they have done.
At first, their concern was wanting to protect their own employees and with their vision and innovation they created a product that will benefit all mankind. My evaluation of this product is that when “supply comes on the heels of demand,” companies like MachineSense take on a leadership role and design products that reduce our exposure to COVID 19.
This new product is designed to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 and should now be used in every educational facility, government building, courthouse and airport throughout the country as part of their access control system.
For more information on this innovative technology go to www.machinesense.com.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Symptoms. (2020). Retrieved 6 July 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Dr. Biplad Pal, (July 3, 2020.) FeverWarn. personal communication, referenced articles below https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1752199/
FEMA (2020). Retrieved 10 July 2020, from https://www.fema.gov/what-mitigation#:~:text=Mitigation%20is%20the%20effort%20to,%2C%20and%20insuring
Joon-Ho, C., & Loftness, V. (2012). Investigation of human body skin temperatures as a bio-signal to indicate overall thermal sensations. Retrieved 15 July 2020, from https://viterbik12.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/2012-Building-and-Environment-Choi2c-Loftness-Investigation-of-human-body-skin-temperatures-as-a-bio-signal-to-indicate-overall-the.pdf
Krivich, R. 3 Easy Steps as a Leader to Challenge the Status Quo – Fierce. Retrieved 16 July 2020, from https://fierceinc.com/blog/3-easy-steps-as-a-leader-to-challenge-the-status-quo-3/
Maryland Facts. Retrieved 14 July 2020, from https://www.visitmaryland.org/info/maryland-facts#:~:text=Maryland’s%20nicknames%3A%20%22America%20In%20Miniature,feat
Packham, T., & Fok, D. (2012). Reliability of infrared thermometric measurements of skin temperature in the hand. Retrieved 16 July 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22975739/
Principles of Emergency Management. (2007). Retrieved 10 July 2020, from https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1822-25045-7625/principles_of_emergency_management.pdf
Rainer Lenhardt, D. (2006). Estimation of Mean-body Temperature from Mean-skin and Core Temperature. Retrieved 18 July 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1752199/
Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Briefing | The White House. (2020). Retrieved 12 July 2020, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-vice-president-pence-members-coronavirus-task-force-press-briefing-25/
Scott Downs is currently an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Briarcliffe College, his works have been published in the Journal of Emergency Management, as a content expert. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Saint Joseph’s College and holds a master’s degree from the Long Island University- Homeland Security Management Institute that was designated by Congress after 9-11. Scott, being a former 4th generation law enforcement officer and former Director of Operations for a National Security company, combines his educational and real-world experience to actively serves both the public and private sectors with the best practice methods as a safety and security instructor and consultant. He can be reached at [email protected]