Strategic Response Partners Offers Recovery Tips to Protect Hawaiian Residents from Harmful Smoke and Ash Contamination
The emergency response specialists caution against self-clean-up to avoid exposure to carcinogens and harmful toxins
LAHAINA, Hawaii, Aug. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — In light of the devastating fires across Hawaii, Strategic Response Partners, Inc. and Environmental Consultants, LLC, disaster response professionals with nationwide reach, are reminding all residents in and around the affected areas that structures and land will continue to present hidden dangers to property owners long after wildfires are extinguished. The teams warn that residents may still be exposed to dangerous toxins by living and working in buildings contaminated with a hidden intruder. But by taking the proper decontamination steps, home and building owners can protect their health and that of those around them.
The wildfires caused millions of dollars in property damage and left thousands of families and business owners to rebuild their lives. For days while the fires raged, residents endured an atmosphere filled with smoke and watched as Lahaina was destroyed, while cars, lawns, windowsills, and attics became home to annoying and potentially toxic ash and soot. Even those who did not live in the immediate burn areas felt the fury of the fires with darkened skies and ash-covered properties.
“People may not be aware of the dangerous levels of carcinogens, cyanide and other harmful toxins in the soot that settled in these structures,” said Robert Baba, CEO and owner of Environmental Consultants, LLC, with offices nationwide. “Just because you don’t smell smoke does not mean your business or home isn’t contaminated. Homes are not the only structures affected–schools, daycare centers, churches, shopping centers, hotels, multifamily, hospitals–all buildings exposed to the wind-driven smoke and ash are at risk.”
Strategic Response Partners, Inc. (SRP) provides expert services, including inspecting, cleaning and restoring damaged structures. Robert Baba and his team have examined fire-damaged properties following wildfires that have tested positive for dangerous levels of toxins and carcinogenic particulate matter hidden in places that many people never thought about.
Smoke is made up of particles, liquids and gaseous compounds that might not be visible to the naked eye. Wildfires produce tons of particulate matter per minute that seeps into structures–even with closed windows and doors. These toxic specks can be found settling in landscaping, running through rain gutters, buried in carpets and gathering on bookshelves. More shocking are burnt fire embers on the roof and ash in the attics, siding panels, indoor and outdoor insulation, ventilation systems, heating and air-conditioning units, attics, electronics, appliances, mattresses, pillows, couches and even clothing where harmful particulate matter is very commonly found.
“Every time a contaminated television, heater or refrigerator is running, or a bed is slept on, particulate matter is re-entrained into the air that we breathe,” stated Baba.
Health hazards from particulate matter exposure include aggravated asthma, respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function (especially in children), lung cancer and premature deaths. This potentially deadly airborne substance enters the body and makes its way into the lungs, where it can do its worst damage. Particulate matter-related deaths are reported to be comparable to those caused by traffic accidents.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has guidelines in place for proper clean-up procedures, including pressure washing the outdoors, laundering items and completing a thorough cleaning of everything inside the building. Decontaminating an area that has been exposed to particulate matter may also include removing and replacing furniture, insulation, carpeting and filters. Additionally, the property needs to be professionally tended to by experts in demolition, waste removal and construction. Most importantly, it is imperative that the clean-up process takes place as soon as possible to avoid further contamination through winds, rain and other means of disturbing any particulate matter.
“People need to understand that they are facing potentially serious health problems and environmentally unsafe conditions if these smoke-damaged properties are not remedied promptly,” added Baba. “The first step is to have the property thoroughly tested and a smoke remediation protocol outlined. The next would be to hire a restoration contractor that is IICRC Certified in Smoke and Ash Remediation and follows the protocol of setting up proper containment with commercial air scrubbers as needed. The final step would be to have our firm come in and verify that the cleaning protocol was followed and no contaminants exist, so we can provide the property owner a proper clearance.”
For more on how Strategic Response Partners and Environmental Consultants can assist those affected by wildfires through the proper steps to ensure a complete and successful recovery, contact them at (888) 582-5848 or email [email protected].
About Strategic Response Partners
Strategic Response Partners is a company dedicated to helping organizations respond quickly, efficiently, and appropriately to rapidly changing disaster-related situations that may impact an organization’s employees, business operations, and facilities. The SRP Disaster Response Team is ready and well-equipped to help support its clients in preparing for all types of disasters worldwide. Whether it is before any disaster or immediately following, Strategic Response Partners is the most reliable source for getting back on the road to recovery in the shortest amount of time possible.
Steve Slepcevic, Strategic Response Partners, Inc., 1 (888) 582-5848, [email protected], https://srp24.com/
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SOURCE Strategic Response Partners, Inc.
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