Vail Valley start-up selling temperature scanning devices that save time and cut down on risk |

Vail Valley start-up selling temperature scanning devices that save time and cut down on risk

Scanners are already being used by local businesses and in one local school

Daily staff report
Michelle Sanders, left, and Mitzi Forrester are the partners in Rocky Mountain Safety Solutions. The firm’s temperature-checking stations, center, are able to take temperatures at a distance of up to 6 feet. The device won’t work unless a user is properly wearing a face covering.
Special to the Daily

Scanning the temperatures of employees and guests during the COVID-19 pandemic is time-consuming and a potential risk to both the taker and the person being checked. A local firm now offers a high-tech solution to scanning.

Rocky Mountain Safety Solutions partners Michelle Sanders and Mitzi Forrester are selling devices that will scan a person’s temperature. The scanner works from up to 6 feet away, and is claimed to be accurate within .9 degrees. A user is flagged if that person’s temperature is at or above 100.1 degrees, the current recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The device also scans a user’s face to ensure a mask is being properly worn. If a mask isn’t being properly worn — say, the user’s nose is exposed — the device won’t do a temperature scan until that mask is being used properly. A user wearing a hat has to take that off, and those who have bangs might have to lift those, too. Still, the device takes only seconds to give a reading.

Sanders and Forrester linked up at a Destination Colorado event in Aspen in August of 2020. Sanders was demonstrating the device at a group breakfast.

Forrester recalled that the devices in use at that event seemed to give attendees an added sense of security, even while people were still maintaining social distance and wearing masks.

Sanders recalled that the meeting was fewer than 40 people in a room that normally could hold 125.

‘Safe, healthy, together’

“Everyone in the room was safe, healthy and able to be together,” Sanders said. “We watched that dynamic … and said ‘We’ve got to get this into Vail.’ Our goal is to keep the valley open.”

Rocky Mountain Safety Solutions has only been operating since July of last year. Forrester came on full-time in October.

The partners have the components shipped into the valley, and assemble them here.

After just a few months, business seems to be growing.

Eagle Valley Middle School has one of the devices. School principal Eric Mandeville said Sanders is one of the school’s parents, which is how he came to learn about the technology. The device was purchased with funds from the federal CARES Act.

Mandeville said teachers still take students’ temperatures at the beginning of the day. But, he added, those devices aren’t terribly accurate.

The device is used by students who come late to school, or by visitors — such as parents bringing forgotten lunches or homework assignments.

Mandeville said he recently showed the device to a parent and youngster touring the school. They were impressed, he said.

“It’s pretty cool,” Mandeville said.

There are four devices at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. That hotel rented three devices and bought one. Westin Riverfront General Manager Kristen Pryor said one device is in the spa and one is in the athletic club. There are two devices for employee check-in.

The spa device and athletic club devices take temperatures from all guests who want to use those facilities.

In the spa, “We want to do our best to protect our therapists,” Pryor said, noting that spa treatments are generally in small rooms, with therapists and clients in close proximity. Everyone is wearing masks, of course.

Pryor noted the athletic club is a high-traffic area, and the device at the entrance gives users “an extra layer of comfort.”

So far the devices have been well-received by both employees and guests.

“We haven’t had any pushback so far,” Pryor said. And taking an employee off temperature-taking duty “helps create space” that can help prevent the spread of the virus.

After the plague

The pandemic won’t be with us forever, but Sanders and Forrester said the devices can have lasting uses.

Sanders said the devices Rocky Mountain Safety Systems is using were initially used for access control to facilities.

“We have companies that have plans to use (the devices) for employee time and attendance,” Sanders said. The devices can be used for access to athletic and other events at schools, and can scan QR codes for tickets kept on users’ phones.

That keeps the idea of safety moving past the pandemic, Forrester said.

Mandeville said the device at Eagle Valley Middle School will probably used at the school nurse’s office in the future, and will be able to give an accurate temperature reading for a poor-feeling student.

And, he added, “I went to the dentist’s office the other day and the nurse there was very interested.”

While Rocky Mountain Safety Systems is still a start-up, Forrester said she and Sanders are working hard to make the firm a full-time venture. And, she said, it feels to good to help.

“It’s refreshing to be able to give back,” Forrester said. “We would love to see everyone on board.”

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