Two years ago, Brett Huff, an animal decontamination specialist, was looking for a better solution than the diluted-dish-soap-and-water method he was using to clean animals. That’s when a member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces asked if he’d heard of FiberTectTM.
Invented by Texas Tech University professor Seshadri Ramkumar, FiberTectTM was conceived in 2005 as a low-cost decontamination wipe for the U.S. military that could absorb and neutralize the gases and liquids used in chemical warfare. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the material was re-engineered to safely clean up the oil. Oil is one of the products Huff often sees in his work.
“Animals are constantly getting themselves in a situation in flooded waters and industrial agricultural chemicals, sewage ponds – there’s a lot of things they can get into, Huff says. “The problem is, especially in a mass casualty event, we’re looking at the possibility of secondary contamination, because they can spread that hazardous material. So, anything we can do to reduce that contaminant on the animal would be huge benefit to anybody doing a decontamination operation.”
An Army veteran as well as a 30-year veteran of the security, environmental, training and rescue fields, Huff is a technical rescue specialist and instructor for Code 3, a leader in emergency response product design, and Animal Search and Rescue, a technical rescue team that specializes in animals. He’s also the owner of Animal Decon, a training, planning and disaster response resource for working and service animals as well as household pets, zoo or exotic animals, wildlife and livestock.
“The use of FiberTectTM has expanded from just being a wipe designed for the decontamination of chemical warfare agents,” said Amit Kapoor, president and CEO of First Line Technology, which sells the product. “We continue to find new uses with additional testing and research conducted by First Line Technology as well as end users in the first responder and military community.”