Clean up after the storm
Help is on the way
When it comes to cleaning up after a big storm, arborist crews generally must be ready for anything. Any given service territory comes with its own unique weather patterns and predictions, but dealing with the unexpected should always be a part of the game plan.
If your tree crews are working with utility companies, storm preparedness is especially important. Aside from worker and public safety, restoring power to customers is a top priority, and sending restoration workers – including arborists – to deal with fallen trees and large debris is part of that process. Outages cost utilities somewhere between $18 billion to $33 billion annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, so getting systems back up and running as soon as possible is an essential part of a utility’s immediate response to weather-related outages.
With that in mind, a preparedness plan is critical. Safety and utility tree work have always gone hand in hand, but the stakes are that much higher when it comes to storm preparedness and recovery. So what does a good storm response and preparedness plan look like? And what kind of knowledge should arborists be equipped with when it comes to navigating severe weather in the field? Let’s take a look at some of the essentials of a storm preparedness program, as well as some of the types of extreme weather that field crews may have to deal with under extraordinary circumstances.
Rule of storm readiness
Nothing is safe
One of the most effective tips when responding to storm damage is a simple one, but it might not always be the first one you think of. It’s not training. It’s not technique. And it’s not having the right tools for the job. Those things are all critically important, of course, but the Golden Rule of storm readiness is this: Rest.
Think about it. When dealing with storm response and cleanup, hazards are far more plentiful than when performing other work under ordinary weather circumstances. The last thing any tree company wants is an exhausted crew out in the field, under-rested and over-stressed.
One common practice among Southern U.S. utility providers when dealing with the effects of hurricanes or tropical storms is to send responding crews home for a certain period of time before deploying them. The effect here is twofold: allowing workers to check in on their homes and families in the wake of a storm, and letting them get enough rest before going into the field so they can then focus on the work that must be completed. Some companies practice the “eight-hours-on, eight-hours-off” rule during protracted periods of storm restoration work, in order to ensure that all crews are rested throughout.
That particular method might not be feasible for every company under all circumstances. But it’s important nevertheless to remember that a well-rested tree crew is far more likely to work safe and stay safe when working under more dangerous, storm-related circumstances.
Commercial carpet cleaning
Entry dirt spot
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, IICRC, offers numerous certification programs for industry professionals, including those specializing in industrial carpet cleaning.
Established technicians and novices alike can reap significant benefits by obtaining Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician (CCMT) certification through one of 66 IICRC-approved schools located around the United States and internationally.
• Graduates earn the right to display the CleanTrust™ logo, an outward indicator of technical proficiency, professional conduct and expertise, and highest ethics. This symbol lends credibility to the technician (or firm), and can serve as a marketing tool that lifts the bearer above the competition.
• Upon completion of the basic CCMT course, graduates are eligible to further their education by enrolling in advanced classes in pursuit of Journeyman or Master designations in the fields of fire and smoke restoration, water restoration, and more.
The CCMT course itself consists of 14 hours of onsite classroom instruction over the course of two days. This is an entry level course that — unlike courses for continuing education credits — cannot be taken online. Students will learn the fundamental methods and techniques regarding soil removal from commercial textile flooring, basic carpet composition, standards, and safety procedures. The course concludes with an onsite exam. Students who do not pass the test or are unable to take the exam upon completion of the course must contact an exam monitor in their area. The test can be taken or retaken within 90 days of the end of the class.
The IICRC offers a support manual that guides industrial carpet cleaning professionals through applications in the field. The 2011 IICRC S100 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Cleaning of Textile Floor Coverings serve as a reference book for technicians, outlining the five most common soil removal methods and other useful information.
Commercial Cleaning Should Only Be Done With Professionals
This carpet has not been cleaned in over 5 years.
With regular commercial carpet cleaning, office flooring can remain in excellent condition for many years. Any professional brought in to treat the carpet should have certification by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), as the IICRC offers the most modern training and best practices to technicians in the industry. Among the IICRC’s courses are odor treatment and color repair techniques, giving professionals a full range of treatment knowledge.
Commercial carpet cleaning consists of deep vacuuming to remove any soil that has worked its way into the fibers. Regular vacuuming is very important and will greatly extend the life of the carpet. However, deeper treatment is needed periodically. This consists of cleaning near the entry points of the building, and any other high traffic areas. Regular maintenance should also include complete cleaning at least twice a year. Professionals may use dry foam, encapsulation or hot water extraction for this process, and an IICRC-certified technician will determine the best technique for optimal results.
A professional can obtain certification and learn proper treatment techniques through an IICRC-approved school. During the coursework students will learn from the IICRC’s S100, an extensive document that demonstrates the five most common methods of commercial carpet treatment. Students will also obtain a basic understanding of various carpet construction, and will be exposed to a variety of soiling conditions, providing a wealth of experience and knowledge for the technician
Understanding The Fire Restoration Process
An electrical outlet caused significant damage to this home in North Babylon New York in November 2017
It is imperative that IICRC-approved fire restoration should be implemented as soon as possible after a house fire is out. The longer the delay in contacting a restoration company, the more opportunity there is for damage from water and smoke to intensify. A homeowner’s insurance company should be able to refer an approved and experienced restoration firm. It is surprising just how well restoration works in light of how destructive a fire can be. Depending on the damage, a home can often be restored to its before-fire state. A restoration team has a difficult task to perform, and a great deal of responsibility, but IICRC-approved technicians are well-equipped to return a home to its original condition.
The fire restoration process involves the repair of any structures damaged by smoke, fire, or water. Carpets undergo a chemical process to remove smoke odor. Sub-floor materials undergo inspection for damage and may need to be replaced. Upholstery and curtains are subject to a similar process. Furnishings are taken to a separate location and restored to pre-fire condition. The home is aired out for as long as needed to diminish the effects of odor and mildew, and deodorization efforts continue throughout the process. Through the cooperation of the insurance company, the restoration team, and the homeowner, a home can be restored and made safe to live in once again.
Fire Damage Repair Should Be Done With Professionals
Homeowner was smoking in bed and fell asleep in Babylon, New York
Fire Damage Repair Should Be Done With Professionals
With responsive and precise fire damage repair, even the worst disasters can be put in the past. Roaring flames have been one of man’s greatest enemies since the dawn of history, and though it’s easier to handle these days, it can still cause havoc if it gets out of control. Not only can the flames cause enormous damage, the ash, soot and smoke residue that remains will make the home almost noxious to live in. Both can create irritating odors, discolor walls or ceilings and cause breathing issues if there is a high concentration of ash left over.
Professional fire damage repair will remove the ash and smoke residue left behind. This has to be done quickly because ash is acidic and will cause materials to deteriorate if allowed to sit for long. Restoration professionals work hard to provide a thorough cleanup. This will include treatment of every surface that is affected by ash and soot. This includes cleaning down walls, ceilings, furniture and countertops. Ash and smoke will almost always be present in the vents and ducts as well, as they are quickly taken up by the HVAC system. Professionals will access the home’s ducts to clean them out as well, preventing either from entering the home once again.
Upon eliminating all of the ash, soot and smoke, the home will quickly be free of any lingering odor
What To Do If You Find Water In The Basement
Pipe leak in the ceiling caused plenty of damage in this sunroom in Amityville, New York.
One of the worst nightmares for any homeowner is finding water in the basement, and in most cases, the only way to deal with such a situation is to bring in a professional. Excess water, especially when it is contaminated, has the potential to cause a great deal of damage, and if the problem is not dealt with properly, the situation can quickly get out of hand. This is especially true when water is pooling in the home and coming in contact with organic materials like drywall or fabric.
Water in the basement can be caused by a lot of factors. The room may sit under the water table, which will slowly push water into the home. A disaster like a flood can quickly fill the room with fluid, as well as a burst pipe or other plumbing mishap. No matter what causes the water to build up in the home, it will take a certified team to remove it and restore the basement effectively.
There are a couple steps, though, that a homeowner can take to minimize damage and make the home safe to navigate through. If a pipe burst or is leaking, then cutting off the supply line into the home can halt the problem. Also, switching off the home’s power may be necessary, as an electrical discharge can make walking through water exceedingly dangerous and cause a fire.
Safety is the primary concern when contending with excess moisture, and a certified crew will be able to get the home restored in while avoiding any dangerous situations.
How A Water Restoration Technician Assists After Disaster
Pipe leak from a screw that was there for 10 years and just now gave way.
A water restoration technician has an extremely important job when a home is affected by excess moisture or fluid. Certified professionals in the industry can quickly reverse the extensive damage that a flood or sewage backflow can cause, and save as many items as possible in the process. And when dealing with contaminated fluids, especially when it has pooled in the home, only certified professionals should be allowed to manage the cleanup. Attempting to perform cleanup efforts without expert assistance can lead to injury or illness, both of which can be severe.
A certified water restoration technician will usually be on call around the clock, except for those times when an entire community has been affected by a major disaster. As soon as a professional is on site, they will assess the situation and determine what items need immediate rescuing. If fluid has pooled in areas around the home, then pumps will be used to remove it.
The home will be dried using a configuration of heavy duty air movers and dehumidifiers, and while it dries, the firm will move through the building and look for any evidence of mold or pathogen contamination. If pathogens or mold are present, they will be eliminated using special procedures. This will ensure the home is safe to return to, and with concerted drying efforts, the building will as good as new once professionals have completed their work.
Why Is Mold And Mildew Such A Big Threat?
A slow leak left unrepaired turned this room into a safe haven for mold.
Mold and mildew are some of the most persistent enemies a homeowner can have, and getting rid of them for good can be a major hassle without professional assistance. Fungi is particularly stubborn in humid areas, though they can take root in any home that has issues with moisture buildup. All it takes is a slight, steady plumbing leak, or a slightly cracked window to give the fungi all the moisture and space it needs to operate. And once it shows up, it will spread quickly if not checked. This is why homeowners are often best served by seeking out certified professionals, as they will be able to completely eliminate the contamination without allowing it to spread.
Remediation firms are experts at halting the spread of fungal contamination, and they know how to seal off the area to keep it from dispersing. And with their commercial grade products and processes, the contamination can be eliminated in short order. This quick response will minimize the damage and ensure the home is healthy enough for a family to live and relax in.
Why A Mold Abatement Certification Is Needed
This home had a water damage that the homeowner tried to handle themselves in Bayshore New York.
A mold abatement certification helps technicians earn respect and trust in the industry. Potential customers will want to know that the technician knows what they are doing. With an IICRC certification, technicians can prove they understand the problem and know how to deal with it. The appropriate qualifications gives companies and technicians a competitive edge compared to those who don’t have the test qualifications. But, a mold abatement certification offers more than just a competitive edge. It offers technicians valuable knowledge on how to remediate the affected areas and preventative measures. It also provides experienced professionals the opportunity to further their education.
The industry will continue to change with new equipment and methods that help remediate mold. Professionals who stay on top of these changes can offer better service to customers. In addition, classes can motivate employees to grow in a special field which benefits both the employee and the company. Courses aren’t time consuming and are designed to cover all aspects of remediation from preliminary assessments to removal protocols. With distance learning and IICRC approved schools throughout the country, there is no reason not to invest in the course. Once technicians pass the final exam, they will be qualified as a CMR and can work full-time, part-time or continue learning.