Facing a biological or chemical emergency is stressful. Prepare for the event by creating a thorough disaster contingency plan. If your facility is facing a containment emergency, take these steps before professional help arrives.
Assess the Risk
A full risk assessment and remediation is in the realm of the professionals. However, as a business owner or facility manager, you should take stock of the situation. Consider whether it is safe to stay in the building. If not, activate an emergency alarm and help people evacuate the building in a safe manner. Keep in mind that even if a situation appears safe, it may hold unseen threats. For example, flood water may contain sewage or other contaminants that make it unsafe for human health.
One of the biggest mistakes we see people making in an emergency situation is erroneously assuming that something is safe. Emergency response companies treat every surface as potentially contaminated. Even if you are reasonably sure a room is safe, leave it up to the professionals to make that judgment. This is particularly important when working with bodily fluids, which are a common source of biological contamination.
Turn Off the HVAC System
Heating and cooling a contaminated building can rapidly transfer biological or chemical threats throughout the facility. When facing an emergency, immediately turn off the HVAC system. If you are unable to do so, assume the entire building is contaminated and evacuate all occupants. Some pathogens spread more quickly than others, so ask your chemical decontamination professionals whether it is safe to re-enter.
Never Try to Clean Up Everything Yourself
A self-cleanup may seem like a money-saving option, but it often leads to disastrous consequences. Attempting to clean up in an emergency situation may expose you to biological or chemical threats. Furthermore, without appropriate technology and equipment, you may cause more damage to your property. These issues often compound one another, resulting in a costly mistake.
Take Small Steps to Avoid Contamination Spread
Even small steps can help you stay safe in an emergency situation. For example, in a water-based emergency, avoid the use of electrical appliances until a professional ensures that they are safe. Also remove sodden curtains, books, rugs, or other pieces that may cause further damage to floors or walls. These can disrupt the structural integrity of your building.
Contact Your Emergency Response Company Immediately
When disaster strikes, it is time to put your emergency response plan into action. Immediately contact your environmental cleaning company to receive emergency services. Situations like these are why it is so important to invest in the right company. EcoShield is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. We are on call around-the-clock to ensure that we never let our clients down.