Outsourcing your organization’s janitorial services will ensure the safe cleanup of your facilities affected by the recent wildfires in Southern California.
Outsourced Janitorial Services Ensures the Safe Cleanup of Facilities Affected by Wildfires
According to AccuWeather, the cost of the recent wildfires in California is expected to exceed $100 billion in damage, illness, and loss of productivity.
AccuWeather […] estimates the total cost of the California wildfires at about $180 billion after these current fires all burn out in approximately two weeks.
These losses are attributable in part to homes damaged or lost, many of them in expensive neighborhoods; business and school closures; clogged commuter routes; respiratory illness from the bad air; costs to fight the fires and rehabilitation costs, lost sales and business activity and workdays lost.
After the fires are contained, schools and businesses affected by smoke and soot will need to act quickly to safely clean the damage to prevent health issues.
However, cleaning the smoke and soot damage comes with its own health risks, and should be handled by experienced professionals with the appropriate training and safety equipment.
Health Issues Associated With Smoke and Soot Damage
You don’t allow anyone to smoke in your business or classroom.
In addition to the chemicals making up the materials burned up by the fire, wood smoke contains more than 100 chemicals found in cigarettes, including:
- Carbon Monoxide – Can cause mild to severe headaches, nausea, lung and heart issues, unconsciousness, and death, and;
- Hydrogen Cyanide – Leading cause of cyanide poisoning. Can cause symptoms ranging from mild headaches, heart problems, and death.
Soot contains the same chemicals as smoke, but presents longer-term health and safety issues, as well as complex cleaning challenges.
Special care must be taken when cleaning soot to ensure that it is not inhaled or come into direct contact with a persons skin or eyes.
Immediate reactions to soot contact can cause:
- Respiratory issues and irritation.
- Eye irritation.
- Skin irritation and rashes.
- Headaches, and;
Since soot can settle in difficult to clean air ducts, long-term exposure due to inadequate cleaning can lead to:
- Heart issues.
- Breathing issues, including asthma.
- Cancer, and;
Green Cleaning Tips
Just because the fire is out does not mean the smoke and soot it left behind is safe.
There is little to no way of determining the potential chemical makeup of the smoke residue and soot, but you can rest assured it is toxic.
The best advice you can take is to hire an experienced professional to clean your property for you.
If you do decide to go it alone:
- Wear the correct safety equipment, including goggles to protect your eyes, a respirator to avoid inhalation, protective gloves, and clothing that leaves little to no skin exposed to potential contact.
- Do not use consumer-grade vacuums or leaf blowers. They will knock the soot and smoke particles into the air and create a severe health issue. Instead, use a commercial-grade HEPA filtered vacuum and pair it microfiber towels, mops, and brooms.
- Do not dump the waste down storm drains; you run the risk of clogging the drains and polluting the water.
- Bleach can compound an already challenging indoor air quality issue, so we advise the use of certified green cleaning products and EPA Category IV disinfectants.
- Clean everything top to bottom, including air ducts.
- Use the two-bucket cleaning method combined with color-coded microfiber to avoid surface cross-contamination and smearing soot all over.
- Place HEPA filters throughout the space, and ensure adequate ventilation during and after the cleanup process.
References & Resources
- Returning to an Ash-Stained Home? Here’s How to Safely Clean Up
- How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health
- The Hidden Hazards of Fire Soot
The cost of the recent California wildfires is expected to exceed $100 Billion, including the expense of health issues and lost workdays.
That means that the faster schools and businesses can return to normal operations, the better off they will be.
However, damage from smoke, soot, and mold can hinder the process, create or aggravate health issues, and delay openings.
Cleaning the damage at a commercial level requires the assistance of experienced custodial teams with the proper training and equipment to get the job done right, quickly, and safely.
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Fresno CA, call (559) 206-1059
In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253