Medical freezers are required by many different types of establishment, for the storage of medical supplies, vaccines and medical samples. Hospitals, GP surgeries, research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies all need medical freezers in various sizes. Medical freezers also come with a variety of different features and functions, which can suit certain needs for different businesses.
In this article we look at what makes medical freezers different from non-medical freezers, and how to go about choosing one.
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What Are Medical Freezers?
Medical freezers are very different from a freezer you might have in the home or in a food business. Their features and design are tailored to suit the medical industry, whose needs for temperatures control, access and storage are different from domestic or commercial freezers.
Medical freezers can reach much lower temperatures than domestic or commercial models and often need individual storage areas to hold different types of medical supplies that cannot sit side by side, such as blood samples and vaccines. These separate compartments avoid any bacterial cross contamination.
Medical freezers can hold many different things. For GP surgeries, chemists and pharmaceutical companies their primary need is the storage of medicines; for research laboratories they need to keep biological samples; and hospitals would need to hold all these things along with vaccines and blood.
Medical freezers have very specific features, for example:
Medical freezers need specific temperature ranges, which can differ to those required for general home or commercial freezers. Some medical supplies can need temperatures as low as -45C whereas others only need to be kept at around anywhere between -10C to -30C. It all depends on your particular business.
As some medical supplies and their chemical components can be highly volatile, there is a need for the contents of medical freezers to stay at an exact and steady temperature. The effectiveness of some medicines and vaccines can be compromised if they are not stored correctly or if the temperature fluctuates too much. This means that visual displays and alarms to warn the user that the temperature of the unit is going out of range are very important features.
For medical freezers that can give you a very accurate temperature control you need to choose a model with air circulation grids on the base and sides. These types of medical freezers can provide temperature accuracy to within 1 degree. This can be extremely important in laboratories where substances are kept for medical experiments and testing.
Temperature stability is also aided by a fan in the medical freezers, which gives you consistent air circulation around the unit. It is beneficial if the fan will automatically switch off when the door is opened as this minimizes any loss of cold air.
As with any freezer, keeping medical freezers stocked incorrectly can affect the temperature stability. Holding too much or too little in a freezer will compromise performance so the internal design of the unit you choose is a consideration. Specific shelving and racking inside medical freezers will assist when you are storing precise packaging for medicines and vaccines.
With medical freezers hygiene is of the utmost importance. There is an extra need to avoid contamination of contents from other biological sources. The unit must be easy to clean externally and internally with shelves and racking easy to remove, preferably on runners, and the base in just one piece, which means it is less of a dirt trap.
Also you need to look for a model that uses an anti-bacterial condensation system, which minimize the risk of any buildup of dirt of germs from stagnant water.
When dealing with medicines it is vital to think about the security of the contents of medical freezers. Only certain personnel may have access to specific drugs and vaccines in your establishment so you would need locks and/or alarms to prevent unauthorised access from external or internal intruders. If you store narcotics along with other products, medical freezers with a lockable, internal storage container may be a wise choice.
Varieties of Medical Freezers
There are a great variety of sizes and types of medical freezers available to choose from.
Chest medical freezers can reach the lowest temperatures and are ideal for long term storage where access is kept to a minimum. These can be quite large and are best if you have a lot of products to store to keep the efficiency of the unit to its optimum.
Cabinet freezers can also come in the same sizes, as chest freezers but are more suited to frequent use. They do not go down to such extreme temperatures and tend to fall in the standard -10C to -30C range.
If space is limited but you need to have some medical freezer use coupled with refrigeration storage then a combination unit is a good choice and an effective use of the floor area you have available.
If you are storing any form of combustible materials in your medical freezers then a spark proof interior is a good safety option.
The general range of sizes available for medical freezers is varied. Small cabinets are ideal for pharmacies or dispensaries whereas large cabinets would be good for hospitals as all these models can take day to day use without losing temperature stability.
Big chest medical freezers are more suited to laboratories where samples may need to be kept over a longer period of time or where floor space is not so much of an issue.
Above all, any freezer you choose to keep medical-related contents needs to be specially designed for that purpose and made by a company which understands the exacting requirements of hospitals, research labs and so on. While a restaurant may suffer financially from the loss of stock if a freezer fails, a medical establishment may be holding stock which is simply irreplaceable (e.g. test samples) or on which may depend the lives of many people (e.g. vaccine supplies).
Medical Freezers – click here to view our range of products.