VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The National Air Filtration Association (NAFA) launched a worldwide program to accredit hospital and health care personnel who are involved in the procurement, maintenance, and installation of HVAC air filters. The basis of the program is to join with state and federal programs that are aimed at reducing the number of hospital and health care patients that die of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates to be around 90,000 people per year.

“Ninety thousand deaths due to lack of proper hygiene is an astonishing number,” said Marisa de Segovia, NAFA president. “We know that these infections come from many different sources and believe that some may be airborne. Our goal is to help hospital and health care technicians understand the proper application and the correct installation of air filters in the five main areas of the facility - emergency room, isolation/intensive care unit, operating room, patient care room, and administrative and general areas - and to eliminate these as areas of possible contamination. Our goal is to train and accredit every technician who is involved in air filtration in a hospital and health care facility.”

The worldwide initiative is called the “Aces” program after the military fighter pilots who were credited with shooting down enemy combatants. The program is streamlined both for time and cost for the hospital facility and for NAFA designated instructors.

It will be instructed by NAFA Certified Air Filter Specialists (CAFS) and will involve a packaged text, tutorial, and test. Technicians involved in the program will be required to study the text, attend the tutorial where the CAFS will demonstrate actual applications and filters based on the text, and then sit for the national 100-question exam. Successful candidates will receive the NAFA Certified Technician (NCT) accreditation along with a shirt patch for their uniform.

“We know this effort is a large one,” said de Segovia, “but one we feel we must do this to help health care professionals better utilize air filtration to eliminate infections caused by airborne contaminants.”

Publication date:11/15/2010