County of Marin - News Releases - Vehicle Disinfection

For Immediate Release
April 13, 2020

Extra Steps Taken on Cleanliness of Marin’s Emergency Vehicles

Systematic process for disinfection installed at three locations

Marin County, CA – For first responders, cleanliness is not just a good habit like making one’s bed in the morning, it’s a necessity. During a public health pandemic, unsanitary surroundings eventually could lead to high-level exposures.

A contractor wearing a hazmat suit cleans out the inside of an ambulance.A worker disinfects the inside of an ambulance.
The Marin County Fire Chiefs Association has developed a systematic process for disinfecting ambulances after every patient is transported to the hospital. There are now three disinfectant locations close to the three Marin hospitals, all staffed with trained contractors who clean vehicles that could have transported a patient suspected of having the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“We recognized early on that protecting our first responders was critical to protecting our community,” said Dr. Dustin Ballard, Marin County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Coordinator. “Early implementation of proactive and protective measures has, to date, been successful in mitigating on-the-job exposures among our EMS personnel in Marin.”

Since late March, personnel have cleaned patient and driver compartments with both chemical cleaners and medical-grade, heavy-duty ultraviolet light disinfection systems. All equipment used on emergency calls is cleaned as well. It takes about 15-20 minutes to thoroughly disinfect each vehicle.

Deputy Chief Mark Brown of the Marin County Fire Department said Marin was believed to be the first county in the state to take this approach during the COVID-19 emergency. In addition to ambulances and fire engines, all law enforcement vehicles have access to the service.

“We’re doing it to ensure not only the first responders are working in a safe environment, but to ensure the safety of the patients whom they are treating,” Brown said. “Somebody being transported by ambulance should not have to worry about being exposed to the virus in one of these vehicles before they reach the hospital. Their loved ones shouldn’t have to worry, either.”

In addition to the vehicle cleaning, firefighters remove contaminated clothing that cannot be reused and discard the items in a secure location. Every effort is being made to preserve personal protective equipment as well. 

The Marin County Fire Chiefs Association reminds residents to register for emergency alerts via and maintain defensible space around their homes to prevent the spread of wildfires. To learn more about preparing for wildfire, visit


Bret McTigue
Battalion Chief
Marin County Fire Department

33 Castle Rock Ave.
Woodacre, CA 94973
(415) 473-6717
Email: Bret McTigue
Marin County Fire website