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Touchless Access Strategies to Stop the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Are you committed to the health and safety of your building occupants and visitors over the long haul?

Decreasing the number of high-touch areas in and around a facility is one of many proactive strategies you can employ to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and is key to getting ahead of the curve to minimize future infectious disease spread, including things as simple as the common cold or flu.

Even with a successful social distancing strategy, the primary access points of a facility, by their very nature, contribute to the convergence of pedestrians. Whether they are spaced six feet apart when entering or not, pedestrians still come in contact with shared physical barriers such as door panels, knobs and handles if the door is not activated by some kind of touchless technology.

Having developed the first automatic sliding door in America over 60 years ago, Horton Automatics is a pioneer in touchless door technology and continues to lead the way today with a wide array of innovative solutions that minimize human contact, improve convenience and speed traffic flow.

Let’s take a look at some strategies for minimizing the impact that infectious diseases can have on pedestrians entering or passing through a facility.

Devise an Action Plan

Healthcare facilities are usually the best equipped to handle contagious disease outbreaks because they already have disaster plans that go into effect at the outset of catastrophic events such as a pandemic. Healthcare facilities are also among the greatest users of automatic doors since they are focused on easing the safe movement of patients, visitors and workers with the benefit of hands-free technology. 

Other types of facilities are not always as prepared and should consider implementing a plan to minimize touchpoints throughout the facility, be they doors, faucets or vending machines.

If the building has a large number of doorways, you do not have to convert them to touchless all at once. Begin by analyzing the entrances across the entire facility to determine which have the most traffic and plan for touchless upgrades to those entry points that will provide the most immediate benefit for pedestrians. In most cases it will be the main entrances, but it could also be doors for heavily used spaces such as restrooms. By starting with the most used entrances, you can begin to make a difference in germ mitigation while working within potential budgetary restrictions.


Choose the Correct Door System

You can choose to add touchless activation to current door systems or replace with entirely new automated entry solutions. Whether it’s an automated revolver, slide or swing door system, Horton representatives can assist you by reviewing your action plan, assessing your architectural goals, and analyzing the primary users and their traffic patterns to make an informed recommendation that is ideal for your challenges.

Horton offers a broad selection of products that provide touchless activation for pedestrian access solutions which can assist in reducing microbial transmission. These hands-free access solutions can be used in healthcare facilities, schools, government buildings, offices, airports and restrooms. 

For an added layer of protection, Horton offers high-performance antimicrobial finishes in both wet paint and powder coat available on all product offerings.


Understanding Touchless Activation Devices 

There are three primary options for making an automatic door touchless.

  1. Motion sensors detect an approaching pedestrian using a microwave motion sensor, an infrared sensor or a combination of the two technologies. These sensors detect an object moving toward the door in order to activate the operator. The sensor’s range can be adjusted to the specific application, but usually fall in the 6- to 8-foot range. Motion sensors are good for applications with high traffic such as airports, grocery stores, schools and busy office buildings.

  2. Another option is the touchless proximity sensor. This sensor uses infrared or microwave technology to detect the presence of a hand, typically within 4 to 6 inches of the switch. Because it requires a person to hesitate a moment to activate the device, it is for moderate levels of traffic. It does provide a greater level of access control because it requires a “knowing act” from a person. A motion sensor, on the other hand, could mistakenly be activated by something other than a person such as an animal or a wind-blown object.

  3. Another lower tech hands-free activation solution is the pressure-sensing mat. It’s not truly touchless because it requires the footstep of a pedestrian to activate the opener, but the bottom of one’s shoe is not necessarily something that comes in regular contact with people’s hands or face.

Learn more about our Touchless Access Solutions here.

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