COVID-19: Addressing Water Damage While Social Distancing
By Jesus Toro, President, Toro Water Damage and Mold Remediation
We are living during a time of so many uncertainties. An unexpected disaster may only add to the already stressful situation we are living in. The government has deemed the water damage industry as essential workers because water damage services are imperative when water damage occurs from burst pipes, overflowing toilets, roof leaks and mold growth due to poor ventilation and high humidity. Water damage happens whether we are in a global pandemic or not. Therefore, it is important for you as property owners or property managers to get the impacted units back to pre-existing conditions for the health of everyone at the property and for the integrity of the unit and value of your property. Under our present conditions of social distancing, face coverings and other protective measures, the job of water damage mediation does not change but the interaction does. What do I mean?
People are afraid to closely interact with others, so as a technician, I wear gloves and a mask so that the owner and tenant can feel secure and safe from infection. The gloves should be brand new and worn the entire time while at the site so that both the owner and the tenant may have peace of mind. Second, do not bring every inspection gadget into the unit at the same time. Take your time and bring things in one at a time. Third, lay plastic down to set your tools during an inspection. Finally, I am always sure to follow extensive cleaning protocols at my work area both before beginning the job and after my work is complete.
Once the scope of work is done and pictures are taken, it is important to install secondary containments. Some abatement companies use the secondary containments after they remove asbestos, but we use this same set up to give ourselves extra room outside of the initial containment and discourage the owner and tenants from getting close. These secondary containments take up more space, encompassing the initial containment that was set as the exit / walkway area. We also use an additional air scrubber outside of the secondary containment for extra distancing.
Another precaution we use is to mark 6-feet from the entrance to exit area with tape so the owner or tenant are aware how much a 6-foot distance looks like and what area we need to cover. The final step we take is using antimicrobial inside the containments and we make sure to wipe down the whole containment as we make our way out – yes, that includes all trash bags. Given the current pandemic situation, antimicrobial is in short supply and as such, we need to be conservative of what we have on hand so that there is plenty for the project from start to finish.
These are just some of the techniques we use to keep owners and tenants safe while completing important water damage remediation projects. As we continue doing more jobs, we pick up more techniques that will help us and our clients remain safe, and everyone else that we may meet at each job site.
These are challenging times. Water damage, or long-term damages have similar health issues as COVID-19. Mold porous attacks the lungs and the nervous system, just like COVID-19. It is also more hazardous to the elderly and young children as their immune systems are weaker.
The author, Jesus Toro, is the President of Toro Water Damage and Mold Remediation. You can reach Jesus at (714) 422- 5026