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Title:
A CONTAINMENT DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/112869
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A containment device for personnel, animals or objects to provide a sterile environment so as preformed framework. The envelope has the facility by the addition of modifications to the floor area to incorporate additional objects/furnishings without compromising the integrity of the barrier. The flexible envelope is readily transformable between a collapsed and compact condition for storage and expanded condition for creating the aforementioned sterile area. Thus creating a readily useable, and in some cases re-usable, sterile area and avoiding the conventional method of achieving such an environment by attending a forensically sound, buildings based, laboratory/room.

Inventors:
WATSON, Stephen, Trevor (44 Bridgewater Close, Frodsham Cheshire WA6 7GY, GB)
Application Number:
GB2009/050252
Publication Date:
September 17, 2009
Filing Date:
March 16, 2009
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
WATSON, Stephen, Trevor (44 Bridgewater Close, Frodsham Cheshire WA6 7GY, GB)
International Classes:
E04H1/12; E04H9/16; E04H15/00; E04H15/56
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005086613A2
Foreign References:
GB2449138A
EP0075483A1
GB487358A
US20030037812A1
DE3803600A1
US7481234B1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARRISON GODDARD FOOTE (Orlando House, 11c Compstall RoadMarple Bridge, Stockport Greater Manchester SK6 5HH, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A containment device to place on the ground in a volume of space to contain personnel, animals or objects in said space to avoid cross contamination between them, the device comprising a flexible envelope of a non-permeable material shaped to fill at least partially the space when in an erected condition of the envelope, the envelope having a floor, walls and ceiling, and wherein the floor is provided with a recessed pocket to accommodate features of the space that project from the ground.

2. A containment device according to claim 1 , wherein means for transforming the envelope between a collapsed and said erected condition is by cables adapted to be connected to anchors in said space.

3. A containment device according to claim 2, wherein said cables are adapted to be tied around said anchors.

4. A containment device according to claim 2, wherein said cables are adapted to be connected by hook and loop fixing to said anchors.

5. A containment device according to any preceding claim wherein the envelope further comprises means to enable access to and egress from the envelope by a person, said means comprising a panel filling an opening in the wall of the envelope, the panel or opening being provided with one or more fasteners by means of which the opening may be openably closed by temporary attachment of the panel.

6. A containment device according to claim 5 wherein the or each fastener to open and close the access and egress panel is a sliding clasp fastener.

7. A containment device according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the access and egress panel contains a window of transparent or semi-transparent material.

8. A containment device according to any preceding claim wherein the envelope incorporates a window of at least semi-transparent material.

9. A containment device according to claim 7 or 8, wherein the window is of a polyester mesh.

10. A containment device according to claim 5, or any of claims 6 to 9 when dependent on claim 5, including an access port in the wall of the envelope to enable objects to be passed into and out of the envelope without opening the access and egress panel.

1 1. A containment device according to any preceding claim in which said pocket is a table pocket adapted to accommodate a table by having a platform arranged parallel said floor and a depending wall connected to said floor.

12. A containment device according to claim 1 1 , wherein said platform is rectangular in plan and there are four sections of said depending wall, each section being orthogonal with respect to an adjacent section, whereby a person within the envelope when in an erected position can walk on the floor of the envelope around the entire periphery of the table pocket.

13. A containment device according to any preceding claim, in which said pocket is a bench pocket adapted to accommodate a bench by having a platform arranged parallel said floor intersecting a wall of the envelope and having a depending wall intersecting said floor.

14. A containment device according to any preceding claim, in which the space to be at least partially filled by said envelope is cuboid and said wall has four sides.

15. A containment device according to claim 13 and 14, wherein the platform of said bench pocket intersects three of said sides of said wall.

16. A containment device according to any preceding claim wherein the flexible envelope is of a material which is selected as non-permeable to specified contaminants such as chemical substances.

17. A containment device according to any preceding claim wherein floor has a wall upstand, both being of a material that is resistant to and contains liquids without egress.

18. A containment device according to any preceding claim wherein the flexible envelope is of a spun-bonded polyolefin.

19. A containment device according to any preceding claim, wherein a framework maintains the envelope in said erected condition.

20. A containment device according to claim 19, wherein the framework is collapsible.

21. A containment device according to claim 19 or 20 when dependent on claim 2, wherein said anchors comprise the frame.

22. A containment device according to claim 19, 20 or 21 , wherein said frame comprises a roof portion to support said ceiling and depending legs to support the roof portion.

23. A containment device according to claim 22, when dependent on claim 14, wherein there are four depending legs in the corners of the cuboid space.

24. A containment device according to claim 23, when dependent on claim 13, wherein two legs are shorter than the other two legs and are adapted to be supported on said bench.

25. A containment device according to claim 19 or 20, wherein said framework comprises only a roof portion, said envelope hanging from said roof portion.

26. A containment device according to claim 25, when dependent on claim 14, wherein said ceiling is rectangular and said roof portion is a cross of poles providing said anchors for said ceiling, the poles extending across diagonal corners of said ceiling.

27. A containment device to place on the ground in a volume of space to contain personnel, animals or objects in said space to avoid cross contamination between them, the device comprising a flexible envelope of a non-permeable material shaped to fill at least partially the space when in an erected condition of the envelope, the envelope having a floor, walls and ceiling, and wherein the floor has a wall upstand, both being of a material that is resistant to and contains liquids without egress.

28. A room in combination with a containment device according to any preceding claim, wherein the room is provided with wall anchors in its walls for attachment of said envelope.

29. A combination as claimed in claim 27 when dependent on claim 26, wherein said wall anchors comprise rings and said poles are sized to be sufficiently long and sufficiently resiliently flexible that they must be deformed to thread two opposing rings and resiliently reform to engage and be retained by said rings.

30. A method of holding a suspect in a cell of a custody unit while minimizing the risk of cross contamination between them, said method comprising the steps of providing a containment device as claimed in any preceding claim and deploying it in the cell so that the walls of the device are adjacent the walls of the cell, and placing the suspect in the containment device.

31. A containment device substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

Description:

A CONTAINMENT DEVICE

[0001] This invention relates to a device for containment of personnel, animals or objects in a sterile area so as to avoid contamination of the personnel, animals or objects from the local environment. The containment device is particularly desirable for use in a holding cell where a suspect, who may be carrying important residual evidence of involvement in a crime, can be held without the risk of contaminating the suspect (or providing the suspect with a subsequent explanation as to why he or she is contaminated) with such residual evidence.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Conventionally this may be achieved by the use of a sterile room/laboratory where the environment can be controlled to preclude the admission of unwanted contaminants. In holding cells in police stations in cases where the police have been aware that a suspect may be brought in, it has been usual carefully to line such cells with brown wrapping paper stuck to the walls with adhesive tape.

[0003] My copending international application published number WO-A-2008/135779 addresses the same problem found in transporting suspects. It seeks to avoid contaminating the suspects with residues potentially already in a police vehicle left by previous occupants and provides a pop-up envelope of paper-like material (being material of the type frequently employed for sterile applications such as overalls and often being a spun-bonded polyolefin such as that sold under the trade mark TYVEK). The envelope is adapted to fill the rear passenger compartment of a vehicle enabling the suspect to be seated inside.

[0004] It is an object of the present invention to provide a convenient arrangement for preparing a volume of space for isolated containment of personnel, animals or objects so as to minimize the risk of contamination of those personnel, animals or objects from the environment in which the volume is situated.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE [0005] In accordance with the present invention there is provided a containment device to place on the ground in a volume of space to contain personnel, animals or objects in said space to avoid cross contamination between them, the device comprising a flexible envelope of a non-permeable material shaped to fill at least partially the space when in an erected condition of the envelope, the envelope having a floor, walls and ceiling, and wherein the floor

is provided with a recessed pocket to accommodate features of the space that project from the ground.

[0006] Preferably, means for transforming the envelope between a collapsed and said erected condition is by cables adapted to be connected to anchors in said space. Preferably, said cables are adapted to be tied around said anchors. Alternatively, said cables may be adapted to be connected by hook and loop fixing to said anchors. They may be connected by a sliding clasp fastener.

[0007] The containment device preferably further comprises means to enable access to and egress from the envelope by a person, said means comprising a panel filling an opening in the wall of the envelope, the panel or opening being provided with one or more fasteners by means of which the opening may be openably closed by temporary attachment of the panel. The or each fastener to open and close the access and egress panel may be a sliding clasp fastener.

[0008] The access and egress panel may contain a window of transparent or semi- transparent material. Indeed, the envelope may incorporate a window of at least semi- transparent material. In either case, the window is preferably of a polyester mesh.

[0009] Preferably, an access port is in the wall of the envelope to enable objects to be passed into and out of the envelope without opening the access and egress panel.

[0010] Preferably, said pocket is a table pocket adapted to accommodate a table by having a platform arranged parallel said floor and a depending wall connected to said floor. Said platform may be rectangular in plan and there are then four sections of said depending wall, each section being orthogonal with respect to an adjacent section, whereby a person within the envelope when in an erected position can walk on the floor of the envelope around the entire periphery of the table pocket. [0011] Alternatively, or in addition to said table pocket, said pocket may be (also) a bench pocket adapted to accommodate a bench by having a platform arranged parallel said floor intersecting a wall of the envelope and having a depending wall intersecting said floor.

[0012] Typically, the space to be at least partially filled by said envelope will be cuboid and in that event said wall has four sides. In this case, the platform of said bench pocket may intersect three of said sides of said wall.

[0013] Preferably, the flexible envelope is of a material which is selected as non-permeable to specified contaminants such as chemical substances. Preferably, the flexible envelope is of a spun-bonded polyolefin. TYVEK (trade mark) material is a commercially available material that is suitable.

[0014] The floor may have a wall upstand, and both may be of a material that is resistant to and contains liquids without egress. Indeed, they may have intermediate upstands dividing the floor into separate areas. This is useful if the need arises to decontaminate personnel, animals or objects. [0015] Preferably, a framework maintains the envelope in said erected condition. The framework may be collapsible. Said anchors may comprise the frame.

[0016] Preferably, said frame comprises a roof portion to support said ceiling and depending legs to support the roof portion. Preferably, there are four depending legs adapted to fit in the corners of the cuboid space. Two of the legs may be shorter than the other two legs, the short legs being adapted to be supported on said bench.

[0017] Said framework may comprise only a roof portion, said envelope hanging from said roof portion. Said ceiling may be rectangular and said roof portion may then be a cross of poles providing said anchors for said ceiling, the poles extending across diagonal corners of said ceiling. [0018] Indeed, in a development of the invention, there is provided a room in combination with a containment device as defined above, wherein the room is provided with wall anchors in its walls for attachment of said envelope. The room may be a secure holding cell in a police custody unit.

[0019] Preferably, said wall anchors comprise rings and said poles are sized to be sufficiently long and sufficiently resiliency flexible that they must be deformed to thread two opposing rings and resiliency reform to engage and be retained by said rings.

[0020] Indeed, in another aspect, the invention provides a method of holding a suspect in a cell of a custody unit while minimizing the risk of cross contamination, said method comprising the steps of providing a containment device as defined above and deploying it in the cell so that the walls of the device are adjacent the walls of the cell, and placing the suspect in the containment device.

[0021] The framework may be of a number of joinable poles. The framework may be of a single foldable 'trellis' style framework. The framework may be via cables fixed and suspended from suitable anchor points. The framework may have a fixed material roof covering.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] Embodiments of the invention are further described hereinafter with reference to

the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a framework forming part of a containment device in accordance with the present invention;

Figure 2 is a containment device in accordance with the invention partially erected; Figure 3 is a containment device in accordance with the present invention having a special liquid retaining floor section;

Figure 4 is a containment device in accordance with the invention; Figure 5 is a containment device as shown in Figure 4 with one side wall shown missing; Figure 6 is a view similar to Figure 5, but with a table pocket cut away to show a table therein;

Figure 7 is a further embodiment of the invention having a bench pocket and only a roof portion of a frame; and

Figure 8 is a detail of a wall anchor.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023] With reference to Figures 1 , 2, 4, 5 and 6, the invention provides a containment device 10. The device comprises a frame 12 that has a roof portion 14 and depending legs 16. The shape of the roof portion 14 and the number of legs 16 depends on the shape of the space to be filled by the device 10. Of course, it may be that the containment device is to be out of doors and therefore it can be any shape. However, a primary application of the present invention is to isolate personnel, animals or objects from sources of contamination that might be present in a room. Most rooms are cuboid (by which is meant rectangular parallelepiped). In that event, the roof portion 14 is rectangular in plan and there are four legs 16. The frame 12 can be dismantleable, comprising sections that connect together.

[0024] Referring to Figure 2, the device 10 further comprises an envelope 18 of flexible material. Here, the envelope 18 is provided with ties 20 that enable the envelope to be erected from a collapsed, folded condition (not shown) to a fully erected condition as shown in Figure 4. Here, the envelope 18 closely follows the dimensions of the frame 12 having a ceiling 22 and four side walls 24. A floor 26 completes the envelope so that it forms an enclosed container. An access panel 28 is provided in one wall 24a and is connected thereto by a sliding clasp fastener 30. (This method may be supplemented or replaced by means of hook and loop fastener.) In the panel 28 is disposed a window 32 which may be formed of any transparent flexible material, such as polyester mesh. The window can optionally be placed elsewhere in the envelope 18. An access port 34 may be provided in the wall 24a, any other

wall 24, or the access panel 28. The access port 34 may comprise a tube of flexible material with a tie 36 at its end. Objects can be passed to and from the interior of the envelope 18 through the port 34. This access port may instead be controlled via a continuous sliding clasp fastener or via hook and loop fastener. [0025] A breathing port 40 may also or instead be provided to permit the ingress of air during the erection process to facilitate that process. The port 40 may be protected by a mesh to prevent particulate entry to the volume of the envelope 18.

[0026] In Figure 3, the floor 26 of the modified containment device 10' is made fully liquid proof by suitable material, and is provided with an upstand 26a, whereby liquids spilled internally of the containment device 10' cannot escape. A containment device having such a floor has application in situations where personnel, animals or objects require to be decontaminated by washing with liquids. Indeed, the floor 26 can, in this embodiment, be divided into sections 26b, c and d by intermediate upstands 27. Thereby section 26b may constitute a first decontamination zone or area, section 26c a second decontamination area and section 26d a final rinse.

[0027] Turning to Figure 5, the floor 26 incorporates a pocket 50 which, in the case of Figure 5 is a table pocket. This has an upstanding platform 52 with depending walls 54. A clear area 26f of the floor 26 extends around the entire pocket 50. The pocket 50 is sized to accommodate a table 56, which table is visible Figure 6 where some of the pocket 50 is shown removed. In this arrangement, the platform 52 is rectangular to coincide with the shape of the table 56. However, it could be round or another shape. In this embodiment, the pocket 50 is supported by the table. However, an integral frame could be included to provide a table for the device. The table thus stays outside the confines of the envelope. The table has been placed prior to the fitting of the envelope, which subsequently fits over the item. This allows the soundness of the envelope to be assured, whilst still permitting use of ancillary items such as a bench or table to occupants of the envelope.

[0028] There is no reason why the liquid proof floor of Figure 3 should not be provided with the pocket containing device of Figure 5 (or Figure 7, described further below). In this event, the upstand needs also to extend around the base of the pocket 50. [0029] Turning to Figure 7, a further embodiment 10" containment device is shown for a room volume space 100 comprising side walls 100a, b,c and d, ceiling 100e and floor 100f. The envelope 18' is similar in construction to the envelope 18 of the embodiment described above, except that it has no frame and is only provided with corner loop connectors 102, shown in greater detail in Figure 8. Each loop comprises a strip of hooked nylon 104 or similar material and a patch of hooped fabric 106. The room 100 is provided with a plurality of eye

bolts 108 fixed at locations to suit the containment device 10". The containment device 10" is connected to the eye bolts 108 by the straps 104,106.

[0030] In addition, the ceiling 22' of the envelope 18' is provided with sleeves 22a through which rods or poles 1 10 are threaded. The poles 1 10 are flexible and longer than the gap between diagonally opposing eye bolts 108 near the ceiling. Accordingly, the poles 1 10 have to be deformed in order to fit through the corresponding eye bolts 108 and, resiliently reform to support the ceiling 22' from corner to corner.

[0031] Instead of a complete pocket, the device 10" has merely a step 1 12 defining a platform 1 14 extending between backwall 24a, and side walls 24b, c. The step accommodates a bench 120 typically provided across the reaer wall 100d of a holding cell in a police custody unit.

[0032] The envelope 18, 18' may be an unbroken structure with top (ceiling), walls and base (floor) comprising of one continuous sheet or of seamed material. It thus produces an internal area that, once erected, is protected from all external contaminants. [0033] Ideally, the material of the envelope, apart from any observation windows, will be of a synthetic material, for example the spun-bonded polyolefin such as is available under the registered trade mark TYVEK, or a non-proprietary material having similar properties. The envelope may be of a flexible air-permeable material. That is to say it will allow one or more personnel to be contained within the device without risk of suffocation. However, the material selected must be largely impermeable to contaminants of the kind which it is intended to contain and/or resist from the external environment. The envelope may be of a material which is non permeable to specified contaminants such as explosive residues or other chemical substances.

[0034] In transportation and prior to use the envelope may be in a totally collapsed state with no means of support. In transportation and prior to use the envelope may have a number of coilable but naturally straightening rods to aid the erection process.

[0035] Throughout the description and claims of this specification, the words "comprise" and "contain" and variations of them mean "including but not limited to", and they are not intended to (and do not) exclude other moieties, additives, components, integers or steps. Throughout the description and claims of this specification, the singular encompasses the plural unless the context otherwise requires. In particular, where the indefinite article is used, the specification is to be understood as contemplating plurality as well as singularity, unless the context requires otherwise.

[0036] Features, integers, characteristics, compounds, chemical moieties or groups

described in conjunction with a particular aspect, embodiment or example of the invention are to be understood to be applicable to any other aspect, embodiment or example described herein unless incompatible therewith. All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive. The invention is not restricted to the details of any foregoing embodiments. The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.

[0037] The reader's attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference.