The month of May is dedicated to National Wildfire Awareness Month. Knowing how to prevent and be prepared for wildfires is crucial to the health and safety of all.
Over the last few years, every corner of this country has been affected by devastating wildfires. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 45,518 wildfires burned over 5.7 million acres of land between January and September of this year. In 2020, over 7 million acres were burned by almost 44,000 fires. The adverse effects of wildfires are numerous and far-reaching.
In this edition, we will focus on the need to prepare your facility for the aftereffects of a wildfire, along with pest management; the newest product offering by Mintie; lead paint removal and why you need a professional; and how Mintie can help your facility accomplish the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge.
Indoor air quality can suffer dramatically during a wildfire. Therefore, it is imperative to take the proper steps to restore healthy air quality within any building.
Pests have plagued our society for years, and these critters have had a way of creating unexpected concerns for building inhabitants. Recently, pest control has presented more of a need due to facilities reopening after prolonged shutdowns due to the pandemic. Alliance Environmental’s Team Heat division is the go-to company if pests and rodents have impacted your facility.
Air purification has become an overwhelming need since Covid became a fatal concern. Businesses, workspaces, schools and universities, hotels, hospitals, and other facilities have all seen the need for improved indoor air quality. Air purification is needed now – especially since employees are returning to the office, students are returning to in-person learning, customers are visiting places of business, and guests are traveling on vacation and staying at hotels. Mintie’s newest addition of air purification products from Omni CleanAir provides professional air purification for commercial buildings.
Lead paint removal is important and using a professional lead abatement company can keep you and your family safe when dealing with any hazardous material. Controlling lead hazards is of utmost importance, especially because the toxins in lead paint can be dangerous to children.
Last, but not least, indoor air quality is arguably one of the most important issues regarding a healthy, productive environment. Ventilation, airflow, and filtration ensure a building has optimal indoor air quality. In addition, the EPA has introduced the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, whereby building owners and operators should seek to make necessary improvements in ventilation and overall indoor air quality. In addition, Mintie Service has been a leader in creating optimal indoor environments for over 80 years and can assist building owners, operators, facilities managers, and others with HVAC work to develop and implement plans to improve IAQ and manage airflow.
A wildfire is a horrific, devastating event that can destroy property and displace communities in hours. Being prepared for such an event is pivotal in minimizing the risk of harm to the people and property that make up a facility. One of the critical components of wildfire preparedness is understanding the local risks for fires. There are also questions about the proper precautions to minimize the smoke and flames in the facility itself. So let’s take a closer look.
There are three broad types of considerations for wildfire resilience. The first is thinking about fire hazards in the environment (i.e., trees and grass) that could catch fire around the facility and how these factors might put the facility at risk. The second factor is evacuation strategies. For example, if there is an evacuation alert, how well organized is everything to make sure the evacuation order is carried out successfully? The third factor is damage mitigation. Before everyone evacuates, what precautions can facility managers take to ensure that there are no explosions on-site? Can anything be done to minimize the damage done by wildfire smoke to the HVAC system? All of these things must be considered.
Environmental risk factors
Most jurisdictions will classify risks for wildfires based on environmental factors. For example, some fire preparedness guidelines distinguish fire hazards within certain distances from the facility (numbers are region-specific). For example, some recommend using only things like concrete, gravel, and metal within a 5-foot radius of the facility. This means that no trees, shrubs, or flammable vegetation should be planted within this 5-foot area. They also recommend that no storage sheds be placed within 30-foot of the facility. For all trees planted within the 30-foot radius, there must be a minimum of 10 feet between branches.
This is quite a radical set of requirements, but a great deal of planning will help to alter the surrounding environment for proper mitigation. As a facility manager, it may be worthwhile to advocate for removing flammable shrubs and closely packed trees to reduce the spread of fires. It also may be beneficial to consider constructing a concrete barrier to slow the spread of flames.
Evacuation alerts and evacuation orders
Knowing what to do before an evacuation can make a difference in determining whether an outcome is catastrophic or manageable. It is pivotal to stay up-to-date on the latest news about the direction that the fire is spreading. For example, suppose you are in the planning or development phase for a facility and want to factor in wildfire preparedness. In that case, it is a good idea to think about several routes or directions that evacuees could take depending on the directions that a wildfire might spread.
Important pre-evacuation precautions
Depending on the leg time between the evacuation alert and the order, it is not always possible to do everything you would have liked to do before leaving. Essentially, there are two goals to keep in mind for leaving the facility – make sure that the structure does not become an accelerant for the fire and the smoke and flames create as minor damage as possible to the property. The first goal of removing anything explosive (i.e., air compressors, propane tanks) is essential.
Mitigating the risk of smoke damage is a bit more complex. Unfortunately, wildfire smoke can destroy air conditioning units, damage electrical components, ruin furniture and upholstery, and even damage the flooring. While this is a rather extensive list, there are some basic precautions that one can take. For example, if the building is equipped with an air handler, an attempt should be made to seal off the air handler’s housing after the unit is turned off. Because many air handlers are designed with moving parts that require electricity (i.e., condensing coils, blowers) nestled between the air intake and outgoing ductwork, it is sometimes possible to stop the smoke from reaching these components by sealing them off from both sides. You should be able to verify if all of the grates and valves are shut, and the manufacturer of the unit might even have a recommended duct sealant you could use.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst
Although it would be next to impossible to prevent smoke from coming into contact with everything, limiting smoke exposure could make a difference in determining how quickly the facility becomes operational afterward. Suppose the duct sealant and particleboard you introduced were not enough to prevent the smoke from damaging the blower motors, but it was enough to prevent it from getting into the coils, this would mean instead of replacing the entire air handling unit, you would only need to replace a few parts. This would undoubtedly result in fewer wait times for service and the building would be fit for occupancy far sooner than it expected.
When selecting the right cleanup crew, it is vital to use one that incorporates ozone smoke odor removal. Ozone smoke removal works by breaking down the hydrocarbon by-products found in wildfire smoke, specifically equipped to eliminate odors. This would make it worthwhile to start a conversation with the facility’s insurance provider to ask about the kind of contractors they will use.
The increased prevalence of wildfires is another variable that makes the world more unpredictable. The best way to deal with uncertainty is to gather as much information as possible and plan accordingly. Even if you must resort to plan B, this is always better than having no plan.
From hotels and warehouses to residential properties, pest management is essential to the health and wellness of all occupants. Because of labor and supply issues, pest experts across the US expect to see an increase in pests this year.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recently emphazied the importance of working with licensed pest control professionals. Pest control professionals help prevent infestations and treat current issues to protect properties and the health and safety of employees, customers, and residents.
To help prevent infestations, the NPMA recommends
Alliance Environmental Group’s Team Heat helps pest control companies tackle preventative measures and provide resolutions to current issues in both commercial and residential properties.
Bed bugs can infest almost any property, especially hotels and residential dwellings—the chances of a bed bug infestation increase as travel increases. However, due to labor and supply shortages mentioned by the NPMA, it may be easier for bed bugs to be overlooked. Therefore, they recommend educating staff and oneself on the key signs of bed bugs.
Team Heat offers a chemical-free, odorless, single-application heat solution to eliminate even your property’s stubbornest bed bugs. Team Heat’s method adheres to all OSHA and environmental laws. This method effectively localized spot treatments, entire structures, confined areas, and shared walls. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to the harsh chemicals other companies may use. Team Heat also comes in discretely to perform their services, not to alarm other guests or neighbors.
Termites cause billions of dollars worth of property damage a year. Drywood termites make themselves at home in the exposed wood of buildings, furniture, and any other areas with wood. They are often referred to as “silent destroyers” because they can be present for years, eating away at structures without being spotted. To prevent extensive structural damage, it is recommended that homeowners and facility managers get a professional to conduct inspections.
Like bed bugs, Team Heat uses a non-chemical, non-toxic heating process to introduce clean, dry heat into a structure to eliminate dry wood termites. Our technicians are on-site for the entire job and gradually increase the temperature. They maintain the temperature between 140 and 150 degrees for 1.5 hours to ensure a complete kill.
What does insulation have to do with pest management? Not only does insulation help control the temperature of the environment and save on energy bills, but it can also deter pests or attract them. Having old insulation, or the wrong type, could be a warm welcome to cockroaches, termites, or larger rodents. Pest-resistant insulation can keep unwanted pests from entering or building nests in the attic. Pests nesting in your insulation can be a natural health hazard because of animal droppings or dead animals.
Team Heat offers insulation removal and replacement. The team will assess your structure and the type of insulation needed to provide an estimate for the project. Once the plan of action is determined, the whole process starts with removal. Our team protects all surfaces leading to and from the attic before removing the current insulation. After the insulation is removed, the attic is cleaned and decontaminated of all possible rodent droppings and dead rodents. Once that is complete, new pest-resistant insulation can be installed.
Pest infestations can interrupt both businesses and home life. Let Alliance Environmental Group’s Team Heat help you tackle those troublesome pests and help your company help the property owner prevent them in the future.
Introducing the most recent addition to Mintie, LLC’s product offering…the Omni CleanAir Professional Series.
Omni CleanAir brings 30 years of experience keeping people safe in dangerous air environments. “Unlike consumer products, our solutions exceed stringent industrial specifications but are thoughtfully designed to integrate into the commercial building environment. (Omni CleanAir website).”
The Omni CleanAir Professional Series comprises two portable air purification systems “designed for everyday workspaces.” It features simple installation and operation that requires no special training or expertise.
These air purification systems combine three proven technologies:
Both models follow the same 4-stage air purification system, with differing airflow capacity.
Stage 1 – Air Intake and First Filtration
Stage 2 – SureUVC™ Germicidal Irradication
Stage 3 – True HEPA Filtration
Stage 4 – Clean air Delivery and Ventilation
The Best of Both Worlds
The best solution is to choose an air purifier that utilizes both UV chamber filters and HEPA filters. A small handful of companies, some in America and others in Europe, make standalone air purifiers that disinfect the air with hydroxyl radicals and then filter away what remains with a HEPA membrane. These devices are revolutionary in institutional and commercial settings (i.e., schools, hospitals, and manufacturing centers) because they keep the air free of pathogens and eradicate dust and debris. This way, everyone can stay safe while the lights stay on.
Many of these devices are made in America, meaning they are not subject to the same woes of trade policy as other goods. It also means they are produced in a socially responsible environment because manufacturing in America means that American labor laws are enforced in every production process. This is certainly better than purchasing a HEPA-like filter system that does not even disclose its minimum performance thresholds for particle size and is made outside of America. When shopping around for the right solution, read what the manufacturer does disclose and note what it does not carefully.
The Omni CleanAir Professional series provides powerful and portable air for almost any indoor environment. Contact a Mintie, LLC representative to learn how you can get these indoor air-improving machines into your offices, classrooms, restrooms, exam rooms, lobbies, studios, and more.
Lead has been used for everything from coins to water pipes and infused into paints, but starting in the mid-1900s, the dangers of lead were beginning to become more apparent to the general public. Though the industrial revolution saw an increase in lead in various areas of society, the mid to late 1900s saw the downfall of household lead use. Come the 1970s, lead started to be banned, specifically from paints in 1978. In the 1980s, the US began to ban lead in solder and flux and formally banned lead in newly made water systems.
After the ban on lead in new paints and water systems, it didn’t result in an immediate replacement of lead already in place resulting in numerous issues since then (notably seen in the ongoing Flint, Michigan tragedy).
The Continuing Abundance of Lead in America
Lead is still in abundance in America, with millions of households still covered in lead-based paints, lead-based water piping within the home or within municipal systems. Studies have shown that no amount of lead is safe in the human body, especially in children. Any amount can lead to developmental issues. It has become an important point to deal with these lead issues as soon as possible.
The Risks of Lead
To understand the reason for the removal of lead in American households, it’s essential to understand the dangers of lead. Lead can get into the body through various sources, the most common being contaminated water and particulates from chipping lead paint or other lead-laced products. Lead is naturally dangerous to any biological system because it can disrupt basic systems in any human, animal, or plant. Lead bioaccumulates in the human body. A blood test can be taken to determine the level of lead poisoning, and as mentioned, no amount is a genuinely acceptable amount – especially in children. Any amount can damage the brain, intestinal tract, internal organs, and increase the chances of cancers forming.
The Recent Push for Full Removal of Lead in American Households, Buildings, and Waterworks
The Biden-Harris White House Administration has expanded funding for the removal of lead in households, municipalities, schools, and other general sources. This funding allows cities, companies, and homes to afford the removal of lead water pipes and lead paint to get lead exposure as minimal as possible.
Lead Removal and Abatement Professionals
Although funding for lead removal and abatement is becoming more available, companies and households need to understand that lead removal can cause issues if not done correctly. Lead paint becomes most dangerous when it starts to chip and when lead pipes are mishandled – exposing the person removing them lead.
With lead removal and abatement being a severe health risk, professional contractors should be called in for the process. Professional contractors have training and certifications in the removal and reduction process, OSHA safety training, and the proper protective gear and equipment for getting rid of lead with little risk.
The Benefits of Using Alliance Environmental Group as a Preferred Contractor
For individuals in California, Nevada, and Arizona, the leading choice for lead removal and abatement has been Alliance Environmental. Choosing Alliance Environmental Group allows a fully trained, certified, and insured team to come in for lead removal and abatement – ensuring every lead risk is removed in a building.
Any company specializing in renovation contracting should always have a preferred contractor on hand for lead removal and abatement. Alliance Environmental Group handles more than 2,000 jobs a month (over 200,000 jobs since its existence) with an extremely high satisfaction rate.
Alliance Environmental Group has EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repairs, and Painting Rule certification. The team is always current on all necessary certificates and licenses required by OSHA and the local and state governments, receiving training updates regularly. Beyond certification, Alliance Environmental Group abides by its proprietary Quality Control Program to ensure abatement and removal of lead is by the book and complete, leaving behind an entirely safe site every time.
During the removal and abatement process Alliance Environmental Group uses negative air pressure containment areas to protect from cross-contamination and keep lead in designated locations while it is vacuumed up and stored safely for transport. In addition, every technician has access and training with full PPE suits.
Contact Alliance Environmental Group Today for More Information
Removing lead from any living or working environment is essential, and it’s time to push for the complete removal and lead-based paint from buildings and lead-based piping from water systems. For those looking for a preferred professional lead abatement contractor for their household, company, or municipality, contact Alliance Environmental Group today for more information and a quote. Click here to learn more.
In March, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge to highlight recommendations and resources that can help improve ventilation and indoor air quality. Their call to action includes guiding principles and steps to help building owners and operators reduce the risk of contracting viruses from airborne contaminants indoors. Their key actions include creating a clean indoor air plan, optimizing fresh air ventilation, and enhancing air filtration and cleaning.
It all starts with a plan from fresh air ventilation to enhance filtration and cleaning. Starting by creating a clean indoor air plan can help outline everything that needs to be done to improve the indoor air quality of all buildings. Optimizing fresh air ventilation by opening windows and doors (when the air pollution outside is not hindering) and utilizing the fresh air settings on HVAC systems can already do wonders for any indoor environment that is feeling stuffy. The next step is to assess air systems and determine if they need to be cleaned or rehabilitated.
Mintie, LLC offers services that can help reach cleaner air in buildings. Routine air system cleaning or rehabilitation (when needed) can take buildings even closer to accomplishing the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge.
Commercial HVAC Distribution Systems & Air Duct Cleaning
HVAC distribution systems and air ducts should be cleaned if mold growth, vermin infestations, or clogging. However, a slight amount of dust, dirt, and other particulate matter may not affect the environment. Still, if any of the listed conditions are present, it could pose a potential health risk to the environment. For example, the NADCA-certified Mintie team seriously takes HVAC distribution systems and air duct cleaning.
The Mintie process:
Giving your HVAC distribution system and air ducts a good cleaning can help improve indoor air quality, provide a healthier environment, reduce energy costs, and extend the life of the equipment.
Commercial Air Handler Cleaning & Rehabilitation
Air handlers are the lungs of buildings. Paired with heating and cooling, they manage the airflow to keep the environment comfortable. Like HVAC distribution systems and air ducts, air handlers should also be assessed and cleaned routinely. Mintie also offers air handler rehabilitation to keep your air handler working efficiently and help extend the overall life of the equipment.
The Mintie process:
Give the Mintie team a call to schedule your building’s HVAC distribution system and air duct cleaning or air handler cleaning and rehabilitation. Together we can achieve cleaner air in buildings.
Jesus was so kind and friendly while picking up my items to be disposed of. He handle everything with care and had amazing communication with me from the start, he even let me know that he let his supervisor know when he was complete and if there was any other items they could hall away for us, they would get in contact with me. Laura was also amazing from the start to finish. She and the whole Alliance company were fantastic and cautious and made me feel so safe and at ease as my home was under construction. I couldn’t thank the whole staff enough and they really took care of me and my family. Always communicative and answer my questions and emails in such a timely matter and never left me hanging with anything I had question on. Please I recommend alliance group for all of your home project needs. Thank you to everyone, I look forward to working with you again!! – Stacy.K