April 24th, 2018 9:46 PM by Dan Howard
If you hired a restoration firm and paid them to restore your structure and contents, would you expect them to clean strictly for appearance, or should the safety and health of workers and your family be the primary concern?
Given a choice, which would it be: appearance or safety and health?
“Well, the answer’s obvious.” you say, “Of course I’d choose safety and health over appearance any day!”
Exactly; but don’t you think your restoration customers feel the same way?
To actually remove particles, gases and biologicals that create a potentially unhealthy environment, restorers must slow down, use well-maintained equipment and be trained and certified in multiple restoration disciplines.
“But Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) issues are far too complicated for me to grasp,” you say. “I barely can keep up with technical restoration issues.”
I used to feel exactly the same way. That’s until I came to understand that IEQ issues aren’t all that complicated – especially on the prevention side. Let’s summarize the three major categories of contaminants and see if that doesn’t clarify things somewhat for the average restorer.
Environmental contaminants fall into three basic categories:
“Good grief! This is getting a bit complicated,” you say. “Where and when did all this stuff become such a problem?”
Answer: only a few millennia ago when man began living on the face of the earth. Contaminants – really soils –have always been there. It was when man began enclosing himself, and the air he breathes, in increasingly sophisticated shelters (caves to condos) that pollutants became a problem. In fact, the energy conservation movement of the 1970s made the problem worse by eliminating air leaks (drafts) from our homes and businesses. By trapping conditioned air in structures and not exchanging it with fresh air from outside, we also trap contaminants, recirculate them time and again, and eventually, allow them to accumulate in the air we breathe. The result? IEQ problems.
So what do we do about all this IEQ stuff? Well, that’s where restoration professionals come in.
The following are seven guidelines for healthy restoration offered by the U.S. EPA. Look them over and see if they don’t make sense to you.
OK. Specific to the restoration industry, what can restorers do to maintain IEQ?
1. Fire and smoke restorers should ensure that:
2. Water damage restorers, particularly on Category 3 losses, should ensure that:
3. Deodorization and decontamination restorers should ensure that:
Environmentally-friendly and approved products (cleaners, EPA-registered disinfectants) are used;
Cleaning for health must become a priority for true professionals. Indeed, today’s informed consumer should demand more of restorers who service their homes or businesses. Appearance only is no longer an acceptable criterion for evaluating results. When customers call a restoration firm, they should be assured that the safety and health of workers and occupants is the company’s first priority.
After all, it’s not just occupant or worker health, but also the restorer’s reputation that is at stake.