Operation BALMIS: Spanish Armed Forces in the fight against COVID19


COVID19 pandemic is one of the biggest health crises the world has faced in recent decades. The virulence of an unprecedented crisis has forced public authorities, both at the level of international organizations and national and regional governments, to take safety and health measures never seen before in many countries.

Within the anti-COVID19 protocols developed by the WHO, by supranational organizations (European Union, etc.) and by the governments of all the countries of the world, the disinfection of public places has been a fundamental piece in the battle against COVID19.

In the case of Spain, the action of the Spanish army through Operation Balmis has been a fundamental piece in the actions carried out in the fight against the COVID19 pandemic. The main activities of the Spanish army within Operation Balmis were:

  • Disinfection of critical infrastructures (airports, stations, etc.) and sanitary facilities and residences for the elderly
  • Deployment  of Field Hospitals 
  • Manufacture of hydroalcoholic gel, paracetamol and antivirals

Within the disinfection actions, following the application of the NBC decontamination protocols, it is necessary to differentiate between the disinfection of open public spaces (streets, squares, etc.) and the disinfection of closed spaces (especially residences for the elderly, health centers, stations metro and train, etc).

As the Spanish army itself indicates in its communications about Operation Balmis

“These disinfections require an exhaustive study of the facility on which it is going to act and detailed planning of the execution, which will then be carried out in a systematic and meticulous way. Before preparing the areas, which must be clear of people during the time of application of the disinfectants and the effect of the nebulized substances, the staff prepares themselves by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) that will avoid possible contagion in their path. by the contaminated areas and the chemical aggression of the products used in their work. Then, room by room and corridor to corridor, the work is carried out without leaving any detail and completing it to the end, and it does not end until the disinfection of the personnel who have carried it out, before the removal of the PPE. “

In the case of disinfection of enclosed spaces, the Army has used not only portable disinfection equipment, but also CBRN Decontamination Apparatus

These are equipment commonly used for Immediate Decontamination by First Response and Emergency Teams in CBRN incidents, and which in this case were adapted to disinfection tasks using disinfectant products instead of decontamination agents.

Due to its compact and ergonomic design, CBRN Decontamination Apparatus provides Disinfection Capabilities in a wide range of scenarios: narrow spaces, areas of small dimensions and/or difficult to access with vehicles, etc. That is why these CBRN Decontamination Apparatus were used extensively within Operation Balmis in the disinfection of health centers, homes for the elderly or train and metro stations.

Hispano Vema is especially proud that its ATM10 CBRN Decontamination Apparatus, was present in CBRN Decontamination Capabilities equipment on a large number of units of the Spain Armed Forces, has been used so intensively and profusely in a multitude of interventions throughout Spain to combat the COVID19 pandemic.

There have been innumerable expressions of appreciation that Spanish society has expressed about the work carried out by the Spanish army. Hispano Vema wants to join them, expressing her appreciation and gratitude to the Spanish Armed Forces for their commendable and selfless work, in such difficult circumstances for Spain and their decisive collaboration in Spain’s fight against the COVID19 pandemic.

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