If you walk into the warehouse at Damage Control, you will notice that there are signs posted throughout that read “Prepared Readiness.” These are not just mere words, but a mindset that prepared everyone for what took place on Friday, April 17th, 2014.
Damage Control employees were called by Keystone College to assist with the cleaning and deodorization of a fire that occurred in the first floor mechanical room of the Hollinshead dormitory. This in and of itself is not an unusual call for a typical business day at Damage Control. What made this call different was the timing — the call came in at 1:30AM.
The College, looking for assistance, needed crews to start working immediately so the displaced students could return to their rooms. Operations Manager, Mark Bickelman and a crew of technicians were on-site within the hour to assess the situation and come up with a plan of action. During the inspection, we were told that staff members attempted to put out the fire using eight Ansul powder fire extinguishers. Although this is something we regularly deal with, the extinguishers were discharged into the trash chute from the fourth floor bathroom, requiring our crews to think outside the box. Our duct cleaning equipment was utilized to clean out the chute in order to provide a thorough job in a very short amount of time. Even without any sleep, the crew was quick to think on their feet!
This chute is connected to the bathroom on all floors and terminates at the trash container in the mechanical room on the first floor, where the fire was contained. A sprinkler head discharged water, making clean up even more complicated as it mixed with soot and fine powder. Because our crews are trained to be prepared, there was nothing that upset them or stopped them from pushing through to get the job done.
The College needed all of the cleaning completed by the end of the day as they had scheduled air quality testing after the cleaning was completed. The crews started by removing the bulk of the Ansul powder with HEPA vacuums and dusting cloths so that all surfaces could then be washed with a deodorizing solution. The exterior grounds were pressure washed to remove fire debris and powder residue from the sidewalks and parking lot areas.
The efforts of the crew paid off as the work was completed ahead of the deadline. Air quality results came back by 3:30pm as favorable, allowing the students to return as directed by the College.
First Responders Event
Damage Control held its 4th Annual First Responders Appreciation Night on March 13th at our facility in Eynon. In its largest turnout yet, over 120 local first responders attended! Food and beverages were provided by Accentuate Catering and many local businesses donated gift certificates and gift baskets to be raffled. One highlight of the evening included Officer Munley of the Archbald Police Department who was presented with a plaque to commemorate being the recipient of the Law Enforcement Hero Award from the Red Cross. It was our pleasure to present of $500.00 check to the Mayfield Hose Company who were the winners of our grand prize donation!
It was no surprise that Damage Control, Inc. (DCI) received a call that the local NEIU 19 in Archbald was taking on water, seeing as how it was only 1 degree outside. What did turn out to be a surprise was the fact the water was pouring inside the building through a piping system that was no longer used! Water was raining inside the 34,000 SF facility through a conduit that was decommissioned years ago. It was reported that a worker was dispatched to repair a leaking hydrant outside the building and that the worker mistakenly opened up a valve sending thousands of gallons rushing toward the open pipes above the ceiling grid within the facility. The resulting flood and noise of pipes shaking and rattling the building were so violent that a maintenance worker was driven from the building.
Ceiling tiles and insulation were crashing to the floor along with cascades of water, soaking carpets and fixtures. Walls, desks, chairs, computers, boxes and partitions were all impacted by the water intrusion. Initial guesses by NEIU personnel who witnessed the deluge estimated that the building would need to be closed for a month. Fortunately, although not completely repaired, workers were back in their stations in 6 days while crews from Damage Control worked double shifts to help return the structure and the occupants to normalcy.
Safety of the occupants was our number one priority during the project. The services of Cocciardi and Associates were engaged to monitor air quality and general health and safety of the environment. Throughout the project, large air scrubbers were deployed within the structure to filter the air through HEPA filters, removing contaminants and particulates.
Our drying efforts helped to save all of the walls and wallpaper within the building while maintaining indoor quality at more than acceptable limits. Analytical reports came back delcaring that the environment was 90 times cleaner than permissible by OSHA limits and independent testing corroborated DCI’s conclusions regarding the drying progress.
Many questions and concerns were brought up during the project with numerous meetings to help keep the occupants informed and educated. “Our best way to keep everyone informed is with honest, open communication. Keeping everything transparent eliminates doubt and generates a much calmer atmosphere,” said Jeff Skrilow, who acted as Project Manager for this particular project. “It was a pleasure working with the staff at NEIU 19. They were true professionals that helped keep the project flowing smoothly.”
Employee of the Year – Sarah Lukasik
Sarah was hired to fill our Production Assistant position in December of 2011. Within a very short time, it was apparent that Sarah would not only be a perfect fit for the company, but an invaluable asset. “She was such a fast learner and was able to handle anything we threw at her,” says Executive Assistant, Sarah Cain. “She was a perfect fir for our close-knit, family-like atmosphere.” Sarah’s job title changed earlier this year to Administrative Assistant, which better reflects all of the duties that Sarah does including Accounts Payable, Payroll, ordering materials and communicating regularly with customers. Her hard work, willingness to help everyone and dedication made her an easy choice for our 2013 Employee of the Year.