Emergencies are defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. Emergencies in all shapes and sizes can occur at any time without warning and have the potential to be a major headache for building owners and managers, occupants, workforces and homeowners and tenants. Indoor air quality can be easily overlooked during the first few moments of an urgent response to an emergency situation. The health, safety, wellness, and comfort of building occupants, workers, first responders, contractors and any others involved in the response and recovery may depend on choices made early in the process following an emergency.

RHP Risk Management’s team consisting of trained, credentialed and experienced Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs), Public Health Professionals, Certified Safety Professionals and licensed building inspectors are well situated to swiftly respond to client needs and provide guidance during challenging situations. By providing a health and safety and industrial hygiene perspective we work with clients to minimize exposures to hazardous materials, including building debris, immediately following an emergency such as:

Asbestos – Bulk samples of materials collected in buildings following a water intrusion event and prior to interior demolition should be evaluated for asbestos content. Air samples are collected following a disturbance of a known or suspected asbestos-containing material.

Biological pollutants (mold & bacteria) – Exposure to airborne mold and bacteria associated with an emergency response project may cause a severe respiratory response to certain individuals.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) – When a CO detector goes off within a building or home, the local fire department should be called immediately. RHP professionals’ expertise may provide assistance with source identification (diesel truck parked outside or cracked heat exchanger in a furnace) or collecting measurements throughout a building using direct-read instrumentation.

Lead – Worker health and safety is the primary consideration when exposure to lead is a concern during an emergency situation. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including respiratory protection, management of lead-containing dust and waste characterization are three primary focus areas for RHP’s consultants when responding to an emergency demolition project.

Particulate Matter (PM) – Acute exposure to particulate matter following an unexpected event may present respiratory complications for certain individuals. Characterization of the PM using direct-read instrumentation is often completed to understand the associated risks of exposure and management of lingering airborne PM.

RHP professionals have the skills and expertise to provide guidance during critical early stages in a response including: assessing a structure or building for damage and residual effect from the emergency with state-of-the-art monitoring and testing equipment; collecting information and identifying sources of materials/products of concern; consulting with parties including restoration contractors and insurers on procedures and mitigation plans; and providing tools and guidance to ensure indoor air quality is safe for occupancy. We work in lockstep with restoration professionals, contractors and insurance representatives to get our client right side as quickly as possible.

For further references and RHP White Papers on the topic, see: rhprisk.com/white-papers

Scientific risk-based guidance and solutions you and your company can trust.

RHP Risk Management is a leader in the field of Industrial Hygiene, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Built Environment, Risk Management, Dose Estimation & Analysis, and Exposure Simulation Testing. Our highly trained and sophisticated team of professionals work together seamlessly on small and large projects. Our roster includes certified industrial hygienists, public health scientists, risk assessors, certified safety professionals, field staff, an engineer, an anthropologist, an economist, certified paralegals, and support staff.

We work with our clients to develop solutions to their most pressing concerns. Understanding exposures and risks through a grounding in a sound, defensible, state- of- the- art scientific approach gives our clients peace of mind. Empowered by a comprehensive understanding of exposures we can provide, clients are better equipped to recognize previously unseen business risks, manage known risks, target areas for control systems, comply with regulations, and to be braced for regulatory or litigation actions. Senior staff have served as experts in front of stakeholders, public, workers, regulatory, and State and Federal courts.