Preparedness, Cleanliness, and Disinfection in a Pandemic World
The COVID-19 Pandemic is still alive and we as a society are trying to seek a new normal. But, what does that look like? We’re all faced with unique challenges today considering the current circumstances. Because of the occupant concentration, high-rise homeowner associations have been hard-hit and continue to be particularly at risk now. As residents come out of their homes and re-join the community, what can an HOA do to protect itself while still be fiscally responsible, deter liability and maintain the safety of its residents?
A Simple Solution to a Potentially Complex Problem
The typical cleaning and maintenance protocols deployed by most HOA’s may not be enough to satisfy the safety to residents and the liability exposure they now carry. The following is some guidance to proper cleaning procedures and ways your onsite staff can help to keep your residents safe. The principles found in these procedures were developed by a US Army surgeon during the Civil War. To this day, this guidance is the only process approved by the FDA, most health departments, and hospital infection control protocols. It is a simple and cost-effective procedure.
Principle-Based Cleaning Process in the Age of COVID-19
There are 5 basic principles, regardless of surface, that are at the heart of every cleaning process. Those principles are bulk source removal, soil suspension, soil removal, surface neutralization, and surface enhancement. Specifically, the following process outlines cleaning and disinfection for surfaces in your facility:
- Bulk Removal – This removes the large visible particles and is accomplished through sweeping, dry wiping, and vacuuming with a high efficiency filter, preferably a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration system.
- Soil Suspension – This suspends small particles, residues, and other surface soils that remain “stuck” to the surface in a viscous solution. NOTE: Bleach is not a detergent and does not accomplish this task. In fact, cleaning with bleach and water does very little to actually suspend or remove soils from a surface, allowing bacteria, mold, and viruses to return quickly and grow. It is best to use a simple, neutral detergent solution and water. Products include general cleaners, dish soap, and botanical detergents. Methods to apply the detergent include foam application, spraying, and wet wiping.
- Soil Removal – This actually removes the remaining contaminants that have been suspended in the detergent solution. This may seem to be a repetitive step to step 2 above, but it is important to note that this is a separate and an important step in the disinfection process. This requires only water that could be mixed with a solution of isopropyl alcohol. It can be sprayed or wiped.
- Surface Neutralization – This returns the surface to a dry and visibly “clean” state to prepare for the application of an EPA registered disinfectant. This can be accomplished by a second round of damp wiping with water, or water/alcohol solution.
- Surface Enhancement/Protection – This is where actual disinfection takes place. It is accomplished by the application of an EPA registered disinfecting agent. IMPORTANT NOTE: Many disinfectants are corrosive, potentially toxic, and require special safety measures to apply. For best results, this should be applied by a professional. My recommendation for a condo association is SteraMist®. It does require professional application, but between the results, cost, and safe use, there is no equal product on the market. See below for a short video and more information on this. As far as vendors go, I recommend Rocky Mountain Construction Company (RMCC) for SteraMist® applications. Their attention to detail, stellar customer service, and acute responsiveness, make them a clear choice, in my professional opinion.
Who is RMCC?
For more than two decades, RMCC has established itself as a trusted expert and valued partner in the construction, cleaning and infection control space. They service aviation, medical, hospitality, institutional and complex residential with particular attention to HOAs like yours.
RMCC is uniquely qualified and specially trained in cleaning and disinfection protocols. Their strategy includes thorough cleaning followed by an application of SteraMist®. This product is an EPA registered disinfectant that uses a natural chemical process to eliminate most known pathogens including Coronavirus, E. Coli & staphylococcus. The SteraMist® process and application is so safe that it is one of only a few products approved for: medical facilities, nursing facilities, laboratories, food service and early childhood facilities.
The Benefit of SteraMist®
SteraMist® is a powerful technology in eliminating the spread of pathogens and after it’s application requires no wiping, no rinsing and leaves no residues. It is a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99.9999% of common pathogens like:
- Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus) (Staph)
- Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Influenza A (H1N1)
- Clostridium difficile spores (C. diff)
- Human Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Other time, liability and cost-saving benefits include:
- kills pathogens including COVID-19 in 5 seconds rather than the standard 15 minutes of other products.
- Because it has no toxic fumes or harmful chemicals, occupants are able to re-enter a space after only 15 minutes rather than the typical 6 or more hours.
- This non-toxic process is also non-corrosive making it safe for electronic controls (e.g., elevators, fire boxes, security cameras and sensors), and high gloss finishes.
- One of the only high volume, broad spectrum disinfectants that allow the HVAC systems to remain operational during application, avoiding costly shutdowns, and the anxiety of potential problems with a system reboot.
- An all-natural chemical, so it leaves no residues, requiring no wipe downs or rinsing, saving you time and money.