What a week it was, and only a handful of days into the national 15-day lockdown issued by the White House due to COVID-19.
The global demand appears to have never been greater than now for healthcare workers, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), cleaning supplies and the professionals needed to safely apply them. The Coronavirus pandemic has escalated over the past few weeks and has abruptly reached the point where it has completely disrupted our booming economy and the whole world as we knew it. Gas prices are falling while hundreds of people now routinely wait in line at Costco for toilet paper! Unimaginable…until last week.
At this time, Arizona’s Community Risk is Moderate, but the availability of COVID-19 testing kits has been limited, while neighboring states of Nevada and California have greatly tightened restrictions on businesses and residents are to be locked down in their homes.
What are restoration cleaning companies to do when their preferred PPE and disinfecting supplies become unavailable?
Go To Services’ restoration division technicians are certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) so that we adhere to the industry’s best practices for both the safety of our employees and our clients. Our company policy has been to purchase approved RTU Ready To Use cleaning and disinfectant products to ensure that the dilution level is in accordance with the product SDS (Safety Data Sheets) / MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets), but now due to supply shortages of our preferred products the Go To team is having to research alternative solutions that may require additional training on mixtures, application, and documentation in order to continue to do it right.
We believe that the biggest challenge that contractors are facing at this moment, along with health care providers, is the procurement of disposable N95 respirator facemasks. Fortunately for hospitals, the White House has helped cut through the red tape that previously prevented suppliers from selling industrial-grade N95 masks to the healthcare industry.
During the announcement, President Trump also asked construction companies to donate N95s to their local hospitals. Our friends here at the HBACA Home Builders Association of Central Arizona quickly followed the President’s lead and also asked Arizona home builders to do the same. It’s great to see the government and the private sector work closely together, especially during times like these, but what are emergency service contractors and restoration cleaning companies to do now?
Nobody knows how long it will be before contractors are able to purchase N95s again, but some of our supplier reps have guessed that it could be between 6 months and 2 years. So, we will continue to hope for the best and wait for our turn…but in the meantime,
Go To Services Will Sew On!
Go To Services purchased a bunch of the most colorful and fun looking bandanas we could find, then we sewed in a layer of cotton batting filter material for reinforcement (to help protect our covered smiles). These DIY bandana facemasks are intended to be our last resort alternative for N95s and worn by our team while in the presence of others, then laundered in accordance with the CDC guidelines for hospital scrubs at the end of the day. Faceshields and additional PPE will continue to be worn on jobs when needed.
Go To Services and GTS Construction Group have amended protocols for our companies as we go forward during this outbreak.
Every employee has had to answer the same questionnaire that we will now be asking each of our potential clients before we dispatch our team as of 3/20/20.
Covid-19 PPE Protocol:
From this moment forward in an attempt to protect our employees as well as our valued customers, the following will now be in effect for all Go To Services Employees.
1. All service requests will be pre-screened with the following questions and based on the responses given to these questions will determine the level of mandatory PPE to be donned by EVERY employee entering into ANY service location.
Level I: GLOVES, MASK, BOOTIES
(if these answers are NO)
2. Has anyone in your home been in direct contact with anyone who has traveled abroad in the last 30 Days?
3. Has anyone in your home traveled abroad in the last 30 days?
4. Has anyone in your home participated in any social gathering of more than 10 people in the last week?
Level II: FULL PPE-RESPIRATOR, SUIT, GLOVES, FACE SHIELD, BOOTIES – Buddy System
(if any of these answers are YES)
5. Does anyone in your home/workplace demonstrate any symptoms associated with the common cold, flu or any known condition of the respiratory system?
6. Does anyone in your home/workplace have or is suspected of having a fever in the last 14 days?
7. Has anyone in your home/workplace been under the care of any health care administrator of any kind including routine doctors visit in the last 14 days?
8. Is anyone in your home/workplace suffering from any respiratory irregularity AT ALL?
Our best practices will continue to evolve, so if you may have any suggestions or concerns then please do not hesitate to let us know.
Restoration professionals instinctively strive to always provide solutions for their clients and respond to help during an emergency
Bill Kelty has been in the business of helping others recover in times of crisis for over 30 years. He and Holly are both blessed with such positivity and compassion for others, along with a “we can do this” mentality. Fortunately, those characteristics are not only admirable but certainly make excellent leadership qualities, especially in unprecedented times like these.
It’s not going to be easy. Go To Services has already had to scale back some of our team due to a number of regular services and remodeling projects put on hold. This is really a hard adjustment for us because Go To Services takes so much pride in the specialty skilled team that we’ve been able to build over the years and all of the families that we’ve been able to bring together. Having to let some of them go right now really hurts.
We know that we have great clients and that the work will soon be there again, as long as we can continue to care about understanding their business and be available for them when they need us.
Here are some ways that Go To Services can help your business maintain a healthy workplace and limit the spread of COVID-19:
- Level 1 Precautionary Cleaning and Applying Disinfectant
- Level 2 Enhanced Cleaning of Touchpoints and Application of Disinfectants To Other Surfaces – Common touchpoints include, but are not limited to, doorknobs and locks, door push bars, door edges and jambs on the side opposite the hinges, stair and ramp hand railings, cupboard handles and drawer pulls, appliance handles, light switches, tabletops, desktops, telephones, toilet seats and flush handles, faucet handles, soap pumps, keyboards and mice, elevator buttons, credit card keypads, vending machine buttons, equipment controls, television remote controls, chair armrests, bedrails, and countertops.
- Building Plastic Containment / Quarantine / Decontamination Areas – We can create temporary isolation of rooms or areas to create negative pressure treatment or quarantine spaces. HEPA vacuuming and filtration equipment can improve the environment by removing particulates
- Emergency Services and Restoration due to Fire, Flood, Mold, or Storm Damage
Stay safe and take care of one another!
References and Helpful COVID-19 Resources: