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Recently, Tom Peter, CIH CEO of Insurance Restoration Services(IRS), Pete Consigli, Global Restoration Industry Watchdog , Ed Light, CIH and Dave Mason, President of Atlantic Restoration Services, had a roundtable discussion with IAQ radio hosts Joe and the Zman on the challenges of disinfection and COVID19. Here are some of the highlights:


COVID19 is sweeping the nation. What are the challenges?

In short, demand. Tom Peter of IRS created an entire division called Infection Control Technologies years ago to handle this kind of service. Even with over a week of preparation, he says calls from high risk clients such as schools and hospitals have reached a fever pitch. Dave Mason sees the same challenges with a growing demand from hospitals and care clinics.

Pete Consigli raises an interesting point for those in the industry. Contractors need to be clear about the capabilities of remediation services when communicating with clients. Remediation can disinfect areas but once those areas are opened up to the public again they are at risk for exposure and it only takes one infected person. Don’t give a false sense of security, and be sure to be clear on the terms.

What 3rd Party Protocols are in Place?

Guidance is coming mostly from within the industry. Both Tom Peter and Dave Mason write their own protocols. This is a critical point for those who need or have questions about COVID19 cleaning. Rely on industry professionals with years of experience, they are the ones who are able to best asses potential issues and then develop a plan for remediation.

Trained professionals know how to use ATP swabs to test for biological activity. They are trained in using personal protective equipment (PPE) like Tyvek suits, full face respirators and hooded PAPR when applying broad spectrum disinfectants.

Professional bio hazard remediation companies also have access to the “Big Guns” of disinfecting like the SteraMist system, which industry expert Tom Peter says is appropriate for this kind of treatment. SteraMist is a heavy duty cleaning system that Dave Mason says is like a flu-shot for the building.

This kind of treatment is especially important since ATP swabs may not pick up viral loads such as COVID19. Although they are state of the art testing, a 0 result is not a guarantee of no risk and most industry contracts contain a waiver stating this.

How about Fogging?

Show host Z-Man is in favor of fogging if only to remove allergens and airborne particulate prior to cleaning but added that some fogs can act as air sanitizers. Tom Peter adds a note of caution however, that fogging near dust sources can stir up dust and Ed Hughes noted that quat disinfectants can cause asthma attacks, so some caution is warranted.

A Note on Quats

What are Quats? Quats are quaternary ammonium compounds that create potent disinfectants. While they are not without some side-effects such as the potential for triggering asthma in some individuals as noted by Joe Hughes, industry expert Ed Light feels they are warranted and the benefits outweigh the drawbacks given the current crisis. He maintains they are safe and effective as long as the requirements on the label are followed.

Some Tips for Cleaning

  • Use products registered by EPA as effective for control of enveloped viruses.
  • In addition to high-touch surfaces, clean all surfaces that can be coughed or sneezed on.
  • Clean when spaces are unoccupied.
  • Sanitize surfaces twice, to ensure pre-cleaning requirement is achieved.
  • Quality control is critical. Supervisors must verify procedures are actually followed. Verification should include inspection to confirm treated surfaces are free of dust and debris.
  • Sanitizing of occupied buildings should be repeated frequently.

Watch the full episode here:

About Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc.

Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is a premier provider of disaster recovery mitigation, environmental remediation, biohazard emergency response and HVAC inspection and cleaning in the New Jersey-Philadelphia-New York City area. IRS is certified by NADCA and have Certified Air Systems Cleaning Technicians and a Certified Ventilation System Inspector on staff. Services include mold removal,water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, flood damage cleanup, smoke damage remediation, and biohazard remediation.