Responding to the Changing Needs of the Industry During the Coronavirus Pandemic
“Change is the law of life. Those who only look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” John F. Kennedy
Those words, spoken almost 60 years ago, were never truer than now, in the age of the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges our franchisees and our industry faces. We cannot look to the past to guide us, or get “stuck” in the present “situation;” we must proactively become the future, by serving the community and providing the insurance industry with services and protocols to meet the current needs, and the ongoing needs of the coming new “normal.”
Esporta Wash Systems, Inc. is proactively working with our Esporta Certified Operators worldwide to make sure they are prepared with the steps and protocols to effectively clean potentially Covid-19 impacted soft contents. Past testing has shown that the Esporta Wash System is significantly more effective at removing harmful bacteria and other micro-organisms than standard laundry processes; especially on items that have multiple layers or internal padding. Building on that proven effectiveness, and working with Michael Pinto* of Wonder Makers Environmental, new procedures have been developed to help arrest the spread of infectious contaminants, along with protocols that protect the health and safety of our staff.
Let’s take a look at how Esporta is looking to the future of our industry in these key areas;
New Wash Cycles: With a proven track record based on over 15 independent lab testing of our cat 3 sewage wash; Esporta has been able to build on the sewage wash cycle foundation and establish a new “infectious agents” wash cycle with optional sanitation and disinfectant capabilities. While you cannot definitively claim to remove the coronavirus, (as specific testing on the virus itself is not possible), the logical assumption, based on effectively removing other known viruses, gives us anecdotal evidence that the soft contents are clean and disinfected.
Recommended Containment Protocols: We also provide a list of supplies and instructions needed to prepare your wash area to handle soft goods potentially contaminated by COVID-19. If your Esporta is in a separate room such isolation is as simple as controlling access and air movement in that room. Otherwise, semi-permanent isolation walls with zippered access door(s) will have to be installed out of plastic sheeting and support materials, (poles, framing, fencing, etc.). Any entry should be constructed with dual zippers and a hang flap on the wash side of the barrier to facilitate the movement of covered carts of soft goods. In the isolated Esporta work area, you would set up a HEPA filtered negative air machine as an air scrubber, (recirculating air in the space by passing it through the filters). Adding a “tail” to the exhaust using lay-flat tubing tied off at the end. Then extend tubing above/across the front of the Esporta equipment and cut half-moon slits in the tubing so that the air is directed down over the front of the machine. Finally, set up a hydroxyl generator to run in the wash area. Placement of the hydroxyl generator near the Esporta equipment is preferred, even if that means that the generator is hung from the wall or placed on a solid shelf. The air scrubber and generator should run continuously while potentially contaminated items are being processed, and for at least 48 hours after the last load is finished.
Protecting Your Staff: For the safety of your employees, the minimum PPE recommended by the CDC for individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 includes: gloves, gowns, eye protection, and respirators. Typically, workers in the restoration industry use disposable suits with attached hoods and booties for contaminant control work. However, since the Esporta is effective in removing microbiological contaminants, using washable medical style “scrubs” consisting of top, pants, and cap matched with disposable shoe covers is both cost effective and protective of the environment. A full-face negative pressure respirator or hood style powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) with HEPA filters can be used to provide respiratory and eye protection in one device. As an alternative, filtering facepiece respirators, (CDC recommends an N-95 but an N-100 is recommended for Esporta operators), and safety glasses or face shield can be used with the added benefit that they are generally considered to be more comfortable than an elastomeric respirator. If filtering face pieces are used, a full-face shield, rather than safety glasses, is recommended. Any respiratory protection assigned to team members must be done in compliance with OSHA regulations; including medical evaluation, fit testing, training, and a written program.
In conclusion; Esporta Certified Operators have the support and training available to position their company for success now and in the future. Let us partner with you to use these protocols and procedures to develop opportunities and to show our industry that they have an invaluable partner for whatever the future brings. Please reach out to Jamie Sands, VP of Sales firstname.lastname@example.org or Daryl Nestibo, Director of Customer Success email@example.com for more information and with any questions you have.
If you would like to book a one on one webinar session with the team at Esporta, please click here to schedule a time that works for you: Book a Session with Esporta
For more information, please click here to access the full article Procedures for Cleaning Soft Goods Potentially Impacted with COVID-19.
*Michael’s credentials include earned titles as a Certified Safety Professional, Safety Management Specialist, Forensic Operator, Certified Mold Professional and many other state and federal certifications in the areas of asbestos, lead, indoor air quality and infection control. He was one of the primary authors/editors of the Guidelines for Professional Forensic Restoration by the Restoration Industry Association; as well as the author of over 240 published articles. Michael has an extensive knowledge of the Esporta System and its capabilities, having conducted extensive testing of the equipment and chemicals to evaluate its effectiveness in cleaning environmental contaminants from soft goods.
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