Soon the air will be full of fall scents and pumpkin spice craziness, as we have entered the start of September. Apart from the changing of a season, this month brings with it an all-important annual commemoration that marks National Preparedness Month on our calendars. Now more than ever, we find ourselves forced to learn about being prepared for anything from wildfire season, school districts reopening for in-person learning, the continual dangers and concerns of Covid-19 with various variants, and the ongoing threat of potential disasters from earthquakes to mudslides. Needless to say, we all need a little mental break from all the chaos experienced over the past 18 months, as before you know it, the holidays will be upon us and the turn of another year will dawn.
We commence this issue of our newsletter on the prevention of healthcare construction contamination and the need for compliance from facilities. The use of bed bug extermination using heat treatment as opposed to the chemical alternative is then discussed, with the inclusion of using Alliance Environmental’s Team Heat division to provide the necessary procedures to provide peace of mind to hotel and property managers requiring this service.
A very important and sensitive topic then unveils in this issue, which dissects the need for professionally handling and remediating the unfortunate incident of suicide and how the clean-up should be appropriately addressed. Given the current situation and occurrence of the untamable wildfires, we go on to address the environmental effects this has on our air. We highlight the importance of attaining and maintaining clean air in hospitals and healthcare locations, concentrating on the prevention of potential danger from wildfire smoke impacting patients, especially those with weakened immune systems.
This issue concludes by providing you, our valued reader, with some insight into the need and importance of healthier workplaces, especially as employers have seen a return of employees in offices over the last couple of months. With the assistance of Airtek Indoor Air Solutions, the necessary business knowledge and resources are provided to create safer indoor environments that will provide the safety and security for a productive work environment.
As you get ready for the leaves to start browning and falling, while the constant smell of coffee beans roam around you, we want you to know that Alliance Environmental Group and companies are here to support you through all your requirements and needs. With the constant reminder of an ongoing pandemic and so much uncertainty, it is important to seize every moment by creating treasured memories and we would like to wish you a very Happy Labor Day and trust that you will enjoy the long weekend!
Environmental Containment Units for Construction in Healthcare Facilities
BY MINTIE LLC.
With or without a surging pandemic, infection control is essential in a healthcare facility. Dust and debris associated with construction and maintenance activities, if not contained, can compromise the healthcare environment. Not only can dust and debris trigger asthma and allergies, but they can also be a vector of transmission for HAI’s and have the potential to transmit viruses and pass on infections. Airborne transmission occurs when infectious particles, small and light enough to float for distances on air currents, are inhaled.
Prior to a construction project, an Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) should be taken to determine the type of infection control needed in the facility. An Infection Control Risk Assessment is a plan for assessing the risk associated with the project and how to mitigate them. It provides information to determine how to contain generated dust and contaminants and protect patients and staff.
The Mintie ECU4 has been clinically evaluated and rigorously tested for efficacy of particle containment, ventilation, and stability in healthcare environments for ICRA containment requirement classes 1-4. The modular ECU4 is a collapsible and portable unit used for containment or temporary isolation during normal facility operations or during a public health emergency. In this case, the ECU4 is used as a containment unit during construction jobs. Its compact size makes it easy to set up almost anywhere and creates less of an obstruction. This containment unit can be set up in as little as 10 minutes by one person. Need more space? ECU4s can be easily combined to create a larger work area.
When paired with a HEPA-filtered negative air machine, the ECU4 will safely contain airborne contaminants. It helps to meet required codes and standards of a variety of construction jobs, including but not limited to: IT cabling projects, plumbing, HVAC installation and maintenance, electrical system installation and maintenance, firewall repair, lighting fixture replacement, etc.
See a return on investment almost instantly with all the ways an ECU4 can be used in your facility. PURCHASE ONE OR MULTIPLE FOR YOUR FACILITY TODAY! 888-906-0245
Heat Treatment for Bed Bugs – What to do if you find bed bugs in your home or hotel
BY ALLIANCE ENVIRONMENTAL
With summer in full swing, that means many of us are traveling. That also means many of us are staying in hotels and sleeping in beds that are not ours. With that comes fear for many travelers: bed bugs.
Bed bugs were first referenced in the 11th century and have been a staple pest since the 1500s. Many believe that bed bugs only affect those with poor hygiene, but in actuality, even the cleanest hotels and homes can have bed bug infestations. Bed bugs from the Cimex genus are attracted to high-density areas and like to hide in dark, compact locations. This means they are often transported by travelers in their luggage or found in hotel mattress seams or even cracks in the walls. Although bed bugs are an unfortunate fact of travel, there are ways to avoid them, and there are also ways to get rid of them – safely and effectively.
You did all the right things on vacation to make sure you wouldn’t bring bed bugs home with you, and you still found a stow-away? Or maybe you own the hotel, Airbnb, or are the property manager and have found bed bugs in your establishment. Now what?
Heat treatment is an excellent option for exterminating those pesky intruders! Heat treatment is a fantastic chemical-free alternative and is highly effective for both localized treatments or treating large shared structures like a chain hotel. Heat treatment is very environmentally friendly and is compliant with all OSHA and environmental laws.
Bed bugs hate extreme temperatures and will die at or above 45°C (113°F) if exposed for 90 minutes or more. If you have an infestation, the best chance of remediation is through a professional company offering heat treatment for bed bugs and mites. The professionals have large heaters with fans to distribute the heat evenly throughout the space, ensuring proper temperatures have been met to kill every bed bug in the room.
After the treatment, it is crucial to give your space one last thorough cleaning to remove any bed bug exoskeletons (dead bed bugs) that may be left. Use a vacuum crevice tool to vacuum in along the piping of your mattress and along baseboards and walls, clean out lint traps, and be sure to clean out the vacuum too when you are finished.
Relying on the professionals at Alliance-Environmental means a fast, effective, OSHA compliant, and chemical-free way to remove bed bugs and mites from residences or commercial establishments. Contact us today. We are ready and backed by years of experience to help you get rid of those pesky pests.
Why Call in Professionals for Suicide Clean-up Services?
BY ALLIANCE ENVIRONMENTAL
Everyone hates to think of tragedies, let alone those tragedies happening in your home or business. Our world always finds a way to slip these challenging times into our lives. However, it can be important to know who to call to make sure that difficult situations like suicides are appropriately handled. Professional suicide clean-up services are the way to ensure that a tragedy like this isn’t any harder than it has to be.
Professional Tools and Experience
Suicides can be traumatic scenes for all involved, whether they are the deceased’s family or bystanders. Death isn’t something you can properly clean up with a corner store mop and bucket and some soap, and cleaning up a loved one’s remains at all could be lastingly haunting. Your building’s janitorial staff won’t have the required equipment or expertise to handle a suicide clean-up.
Companies that offer suicide clean-up services will have trained professionals on staff who are trained and prepared to properly clean up the aftermath of a suicide. These pros will have all of the equipment to clean up any remaining blood, tissue, or bodily fluids, as well as decontaminate the space to remove bacteria and other hazards. They’ll also be able to remove any remaining odors as well. Suicides and deaths are traumatic enough—there’s no need to leave any reminders for people from now on.
A grisly part of the clean-up job is considering the entire area, not just the visible portion of the site, and that’s something you want a professional to handle. A suicide clean-up service will offer much more than a quick wipe-down of the area and call it a day. They’ll consider the entire space and the materials involved. Homes are likely to have carpet, tile, hardwood floorboards, etc. Industrial areas and vehicles might have many different materials to consider, including metal fittings, grooves, and channels. All of these will likely need to be pulled apart for complete disinfection. You don’t want to be the one who has to pull apart floorboards to clean bodily remains from each groove.
Documentation, Professionalism, and Licensing
Having to handle the clean-up of a suicide is an awful responsibility. Hiring suicide clean-up services shouldn’t just clean things up for you physically; they should have protocols to try to make this as easy for you (and other affected persons) as possible, too.
Businesses that offer trauma clean-up services will be licensed by your local state authorities, which is vital for a number of reasons. Firstly, they will know all of the legal requirements of their clean-up job, including when they can perform their work. Suicide will always involve law enforcement to some degree, and the site will need to be assessed before clean-up will be authorized. Proper and professional disposal of all materials is also part of the legality of the clean-up. Suicide clean-up services will involve industrial-grade cleaners and proper biohazard disposal protocols, and your contractor will know how to handle the situation for you. They’ll also provide adequate documentation to you and law enforcement, assuring proper clean-up and disinfection.
Professionalism is also paramount in any death situation. People are interested in anything out of the ordinary and always want to stick their noses into a situation to see what’s going on. This can be both legally challenging and incredibly insensitive and emotionally damaging to any family or other witnesses.
Professional suicide clean-up services know how to properly cordon off a clean-up project, avoid and refuse comments to any news agencies, and restrict access from the rubber-neckers of the general public. Many agencies may also have internal non-disclosure agreements with their employees, further lowering the risk of information entering the unofficial rumor mill.
You’re Going Through Enough
No matter what your relationship to the deceased may be, it’s not easy to take on the task of trying to return everything to normalcy. Someone’s life just ended, and that takes an emotional toll on anyone involved.
While so many of us want to stay strong against all adversity and prove that we can confidently handle anything, there’s nothing to prove in this situation. It will help if you do not try to add to your emotional labor by making a suicide clean-up your next personal project. Hire suicide clean-up services and let their knowledge and experience make sure that the site of this tragedy is cleaned up carefully, professionally, and respectfully.
Wildfire Smoke in Hospitals – Providing Cleaner Air with Air Scrubbers
BY COAST IAQ AND LIFE SAFETY SERVICES
If you close your eyes and walk into a hospital, somehow, you know exactly where you are. Hospitals are known to have sterile environments and a very distinct smell. What If you walked in and it didn’t smell clean? What if it smelled like smoke? Would you still feel safe and confident being there? Wildfire season is heating up, and because of significant droughts and extreme heat across the country, it doesn’t look like it will let up. Although hospitals are thought of as one of the most equipped places for almost any situation, wildfires can compromise their ability to serve their community. If the wildfire is close by, evacuating is a strong possibility and can put a patient’s health in jeopardy during the transfer. However, even if the wildfire isn’t close enough for a hospital to force evacuation, the smoke itself can become a big problem. Not only does smoke not smell good, but it is also unhealthy to inhale. Wildfire smoke is made up of soot, ash, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – all of which can cause a range of health problems. Immunocompromised patients and staff are especially at risk. Inhaling smoke can lead to difficulty breathing, inflammation in the lungs, lowered immune response, worsening existing conditions, and more. In order to protect their patients and staff, hospitals need to take extra steps to improve indoor air quality, most especially during wildfire season.
Air scrubbers can easily be set up and are highly efficient for cleaning the air in more extensive facilities. When paired with a carbon filter, air scrubbers eliminate the smell of smoke while stopping smoke particulates from circulating through the facility. They can stand on their own, without ducting, to recirculate the air of surrounding areas. Air scrubbers pass air through a series of filters to get it clean and fresh. PRE-FILTERS remove large particles that come in and prevent the HEPA and charcoal filters from getting clogged. HEPA FILTERS remove the tiniest particles, as small as 0.3 microns in diameter, from the air. CARBON FILTERS capture gas and vapor molecules through absorption to eliminate any smoke odors. Just one ounce of activated carbon can have 50k square feet of surface area to absorb odor molecules.
After going through the different filters, the blower pulls the air through and exhausts the filtered air into the environment. Removing contaminants safely and efficiently with an air scrubber greatly benefits the facility, staff, and patients. When placed strategically around the facility, air scrubbers can help prevent a hospital from evacuating due to unhealthy indoor air quality. Besides offering various services to help improve indoor air quality. Coast IAQ & Life Safety Services also provides air scrubber rentals and purchases.
Five Crucial Strategies for Healthier Workplaces
BY AIRTEK INDOOR AIR SOLUTIONS
Adjusting our outlooks on air quality post-pandemic.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything this past year, it has shown us exactly how vulnerable we are, individually and as a society. While some of us experienced only mild symptoms, that only made it easier for the virus to spread through our populations as we tried to keep things as “normal” as possible, the virus could take an otherwise healthy person and debilitate their health. That risk and the spread rates combined to stalled our economies and societies.
As control measures have started to significantly affect the virus spread and vaccination rates continue to climb, many employers and employees are looking to re-enter the workplace, but not without some trepidation. Employers don’t want to take more losses by reopening too soon, and employees aren’t excited to expose their health (especially if their jobs can be safely done remotely from home). This has caused a renewed focus on creating a safe, healthy, and disease-free workplace environment for employees and customers.
Air Filtration Upgrades
With COVID-19 being an airborne virus, there has been significant worry regarding indoor spaces. Airflow is an integral part of any indoor environment, which logically leads the public to worry if indoor systems could be possible vectors for community spread. Can we install better HVAC systems or filters that would help to stop or kill the virus?
For years, advocates and organizations have been arguing for better filtration and air-quality treatments for green and sustainable energy. The argument was usually based on overall cost savings as better filtration and equipment efficiency reduces wear and maintenance costs on expensive HVAC systems and other equipment. Air filtration systems are measured on a scale called “minimum efficiency reporting value” or MERV, and pre-pandemic, most common indoor spaces are measured around 6-8. Previous to the pandemic, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) recommended building standards of 13 or better, especially in large cities, often to reduce high pollution.
But basically, yes. The Epidemic Task Force concluded in its studies that existing buildings should use a combination of improved air filters and air cleaners to raise their MERV score to 13 or above. Realizing that existing office buildings have extensive HVAC systems and trying to rip those out and replace them with an entirely new system would be prohibitively expensive for most building managers. The desired effect and efficiencies can be achieved by other less invasive means, keeping everyone healthier!
Increasing Outside Air Intakes
Building owners have typically been focused on minimizing outdoor air to control temperature, but the pandemic has shifted their outlook. Fresh air is where we have been able to live a little and exercise and breathe.
Building managers should evaluate their outdoor intake systems and possibly increase it as a mitigating factor since a group of people recycling air in an enclosed space helps a virus spread among us. Excess humidity should be avoided, however, both for the sake of virus transmission and to not overload the HVAC system itself.
Ionization Devices and Technologies
Ionization has long been an idea for improving air quality in the workplace, and the technology is still developing and improving. While a new technology’s efficacy at destroying a novel virus is tough to prove using the scientific method (due to time lag in testing), the theory and preliminary evidence show positive results using needlepoint bi-polar ionization (NBPI) methods. NBPI systems are designed to use an electric charge to convert oxygen molecules to charged atoms (called ions), effective at neutralizing viruses, bacteria, and odors.
Regarding COVID-19, the early research shows that the ions will break down the virus by chemically reacting with the cell membrane of the virus to puncture the protein spikes, then attaching themselves to the contaminants, which makes the particles large enough to be caught in HVAC filtration systems.
Keep in mind that while ionization tech is still being studied and improved, it has had some safety concerns in the past, primarily to do with ozone emissions. The CDC has confirmed that most of their risks have been resolved, but it is still essential to understand the technology you are adding to your building.
UV Germicidal Irradiation
UV irradiation has been a known method to reduce airborne disease and increase air quality. Tests have shown that the COVID-19 virus is so far not an exception to the rule, though most research on the subject is through earlier coronaviruses.
Experts recommend implementing this technology in tandem with air filtration as this is most definitely not a substitute for filtration, rather an enhancement to your system. UVGI systems also require a proper design for your specific spaces, so be sure to talk to an expert.
Testing, Calibration, and Proper Maintenance
HVAC systems, even under ideal circumstances, are subject to wear. Regular testing is crucial to keep your systems running correctly and effectively. Any buildings that have been under significantly reduced occupancy should be tested before occupants returning as some system problems will have gone unnoticed.
Technicians should be familiar with your building’s system enough to identify problem spots to keep an eye on and all sequencing operations to ensure superior efficacy. Without sufficient testing and appropriate modifications and maintenance, all of the above measures that a building manager may have taken could be for nothing, as it all has to be functioning correctly as one complete system.
Building management is often balancing between providing the best possible spaces for your tenants or employees and cost savings. The new sustainable systems were often looked at as an unnecessary luxury item in the past. The pandemic has proven that investing in safe workplaces is the most important way to keep them open and profitable. It’s worthwhile for a business manager to consider their building’s air quality systems because there’s no business to manage without people and their health.
Striving to Ensure Total Client Satisfaction
By Ira Simonds
These are a great group of people who did everything necessary in a timely fashion. They worked quickly; thoroughly, and constantly kept us informed of their progress. We were so impressed with them; and their workmanship. Special kudos to JC Black.