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Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 1: Be Advised, Be Aware

The people along the east-southeast coastline of Texas are still in shock. Unable to begun their recovery from Category 4 Hurricane Harvey’s direct hit less than two weeks ago. Unable to calculate their devastating losses.

 

Floridians, on the other hand, just went into their shock-mode on Monday, September 11. (Yes, exactly sixteen years after that September 11.)  Hurricane Irma had hit Florida.

 

One week earlier – Tuesday, September 5, everyone in all 73-76 counties had been put on high alert by Governor Rick Scott. The National Hurricane Center in Miami had rated Hurricane Irma a Category 4-5. It would arrive in Florida some time between September 8 and 10.

 

MOVING FORWARD…

 

It did not matter which coast the hurricane hit. The state is narrow enough, and Irma’s diameter and circumference were massive enough that, peripherally, it would paralyze a large part of the state.

 

Between September 8 and 10-11, Hurricane Irma hit every coast of Florida. And, it has paralyzed every county in Florida.

 

Until the hurricane actually hit The Keys, my sister in Southeast Broward County sat in Irma’s direct path. I was concerned, but not worried.

 

Before the hurricane reached Puerto Rico, Donna went into high gear. She activated a system that she developed in 1992, as Andrew approached. She is a veteran preparer for and survivor of Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes.

 

A lot of people were counting on her to jump right in. She’s responsible for a lot of stores and a lot of workers, and to some extent, the welfare of the workers’ families. She’s answerable to the leaders of an international corporation that had just lost a lot of stores in Southeast Texas.

 

When it comes to major hurricanes, I tend to listen to my sister more than anyone else. I knew that her advice would come in handy. Hurricane Irma was described as much bigger, much more dangerous than even Andrew had been.

 

A week ago, I had four big hurricanes under my belt. Until September 9, only the peripherals of hurricane number five – Irma – were supposed to skirt the Orlando area.

 

I was finishing this blog

 

REFLECTING ON AND RELATING TO TROPICAL STORMS

 

I was working at Seralago Hotel and Suites, Kissimmee, when two severe tropical storms caused cyclone-like whip-lashing winds, torrential rains and hundreds of land-hugging tornadoes.

 

Between August 19 and 21 of 2008, Tropical Storm Fay repeatedly plummeted the area. On June 23 and 24, 2012, Tropical Storm Debby pounced on the area with vengeance.

 

At the hotel, we took the threat of every potential Florida-bound hurricane and every tropical storm very seriously. Our two top priorities were (1) our guests and staff and (2) the structural areas being used for shelter.

 

The storms in both 2008 and 2012 left behind extensive wind and rain damage to the exteriors of buildings and around the grounds. It caused heavy water damage to many guest rooms; the main lobby, kitchen and food court, and public restrooms; and conference center. Also, it damaged both indoor and outdoor recreation areas including both swimming pools and the gazebo. It ravaged our beautiful gardens, nature sanctuary, and walkways. It uprooted flowering shrubs, bushes, trees, and vines indigenous to Florida Tropics – and the Caribbean.

 

Every person and pet on the property made it fine.

 

Everyone there helped it come out better than worse. Management, especially department directors and supervisors, pulled together. They led the staff of over 100 in disaster preparedness, survival and recovery that saved many lives, and the property. They followed a plan, somewhat similar to the one that my sister created.

 

Major hurricanes – major disasters – deserve our full attention from preparation-to-recovery. They warrant our participation. They require our joint commitment to see things through.

 

“This is going to be a very long haul,” said a long-time resident of Lake Jackson, right after Hurricane Harvey plummeted Southeast Texas. An old classmate of my mother, the man choked as he talked on a mobile phone. He and his wife were returning early from their summer home in New Mexico.

 

SEE THESE FOLLOW-UP POSTS:

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 2: “THE DIRTY SIDE OF THE STORM”

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 3: In the Paintshop

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 4: Creating a Make-Shift Shelter

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 5: Packing for Riding Out Storm

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 6: Securing Inside of Your Home

 

 THE BOTTOM LINE: First protect lives, Second protect valuables. Third, if there’s any time left, protect whatever else really matters, most essential things first.

 

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Major disasters swoop in, then leave. People and pets are meant to stick around awhile.

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Stay alert, smart and safe. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Cocoa Beach Hotel Faces Changes Head On

In March, a hotel GM in Cocoa Beach invited me to stay there for several days. It was the idea of the property management company that had contacted me, way back in 2013, about a position.

 

“Pack a clean set of whites,” had been added at the end of the email. Curious. I did as requested, and headed for the ocean.

 

For the next three days, the hotel’s painter and management company regional director of operations led me around the property. They pointed out surfaces that needed work. They walked me through areas they wanted to improve. They showed me themes and color schemes that the owners wanted to change. And, they made lots of notes on their iPads.

 

The fourth day, we revisited some of those areas. Then, we sat at a small shaded table, and went over the men’s notes. By that time, typed into a hard copy for each of us.

 

Usually, that’s when “the best laid plan hits the fan” (my paraphrase). What the budget can bear differs a lot from the combined needs and wish lists. And, available time and manpower.

 

Not in this case. Everyone at the decision table has been motivated – and ready to move.

 

For example: Here’s what has happened within the last month and a half.

 

  1. A local general contractor was hired to repair and upgrade guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, game room, health club, children’s playground, and part of the conference center.

 

  1. A specialty contractor has signed on to remodel the main kitchen, and public restrooms.

 

  1. The GM has been authorized to add three people to the engineering staff for two full years.

All three will start work August 01, 2017. Each will handle specific aspects of the property upgrade.

 

  1. Grounds-landscaping specialist – Redesign and re-landscape the front entrance, nature sanctuary, rest, and walkway areas.
  2. HVAC and OSHA specialist – Handle vent system cleaning, filter installation, room thermostat replacements, bathroom fan/ventilation system cleaning and repairs.
  3. Painter – Prepping and repainting all areas designated on the improvement list.

 

Each of the three new engineering employees worked previously at, or on, the hotel property.

 

Each is a certified specialist in his or her trade.

 

Each is proficient in English and Spanish. One also speaks and writes Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.

 

Each is related to a current hotel staff member.

 

Few engineering departments are able to gain three additional workers at once. Fewer have the luxury to employ three specialists at once.

 

It is done more readily in other parts of the U. S. It can be done when both the hotel management and owners are operating on the same wave length. At the same time.

 

An exciting thing to see in action – to be a part of – when it happens.

 

 

“Together… making a place for the human spirit to find ease, if only for one night’s stay…”

 From: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, by Jan Karon. Copyright 2015.

 

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As always! Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: What You May Not Know About Black Mold

Never believe something cannot harm you just because you can’t see it. Just as a virus or bacteria can cause an infection, Black Mold fungi, offers its own type of threat to your health.

 

Basically, anything which is microscopic and exhibits the definition of being alive supports its own defense mechanism. And that’s against us.

 

Black Mold, or other similar fungi, produces spores which are unseen to the naked eye. During the stages of their metabolism, they produce by-products which are often toxic. These toxins interfere with the normal metabolism and respiration of humans.

 

WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BLACK MOLD

 

I didn’t know much about Fungi, Black Mold, Myotoxins, etc. until I started looking into it further. The following is a list of three of the most dangerous effects from mold exposure:

 

1. Mold inhalation – Decreased hemoglobin red blood cell concentration, lowered blood gas concentration, anemia, and bronchial and/or sinus inflammation and infection.

 Symptoms: Dizziness, muscle spasms-tremors, headaches, stressed breathing, clamped oxygen supply, runny nose, burning eyes, confusion, and blurred vision.

 

2. Mold Skin Contact AbsorptionAnemia, change in basal respiration rate, lowered blood gas concentration, subcutaneous pustules, lesions, and widespread rash.

Symptoms: Skin irritation, itching, burning, dizziness.

 

3. Long-Term Effects (most important) -Prolonged exposure that often causes an irreversible anemic health condition. Stem cell differentiation development within the bone marrow that’s affected by cases severe mold exposure. Change in the Hemostasis of hemoglobin/red cell relationship is altered.

***Secondary effects – Permanent respiratory illnesses such as chronic and/or acute Sinusitis, Bronchitis, Asthma, and Sinus tract cysts; irritation and/or inflammation of the mucus membranes. Also partial obstruction of the airway. Because of past exposure, susceptibility to allergic reactions from common dust and pollen.

 

HEALTH PREVENTION OF MOLD EXPOSURE

 

1. When cleaning: Wear protective suit, gloves and head covering; also proper respiratory equipment such as a charcoal, organic vapor respirator, or a self-contained, fresh air supply system. Note: Dust mask is totally inadequate.

2. If infestation is invasive: Use garden sprayer with 50/50 bleach-water, or peroxide solution. Spray infected area. Promptly remove yourself from the area until the solution has degraded the mold. Then you may clean and remove by hand what is left. When the removal of mold is completed, rinse entire area with fresh water – either by hand or with a garden sprayer.

3. Ventilate! Ventilate! Ventilate! In the area where you’re working, always provide adequate ventilation when spraying bleach or similar toxic chemicals. Open windows. And use circulating fans. The cleaning process will be much safer, and go much smoother.

 

IF AND WHEN YOU’RE EXPOSED TO MOLD…

 

1. Seek a clean, fresh air environment as soon as possible. Go outside if necessary.

2. Get help now! Someone needs to assist you and call “Emergency 911” and “Poison Control” – your chief engineer,  security director, member of management, teammate.

3. If you suffer a rash or burn of any kind, use a baking soda/water solution, calamine lotion, or a hygienic glycerol soap to help reduce skin irritation.

4. In severe cases, it may be necessary to get a steroid injection. This depends on whether or not your entire body is affected.

 

IN THE CASE OF MOLD EXPOSURE…

…what you don’t know will hurt you.

 

1. I developed both chronic and acute sinusitis from daily exposure to massive amounts of toxic levels of mold plus the toxic cleaning agents, over a period of six years.

2. On a daily basis, I took the proper precautions. I used the products and safety tools and equipment provided and authorized by the chief engineer, and property management and owners.

3. But the amount of mold was too great, for too long of a time.  According to health and environmental specialists, “a person could not have come out of it without suffering ill effects.”

4. The physicians have said I was fortunate. A strong majority of persons develop Asthma. In addition, a large number are also diagnosed, eventually, with Sinus and Bronchial Cancer, and/or Lung Cancer.

 

WHEN TREATING MOLD…

Whether at home or on the job, take your time. And work safely.

Take care of yourself and the others around you.

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Everyone wants to go home at the end of the day!

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Surviving a Hotel or Hospital Property Sale

The rumor mill has been grinding out “guess whats” for weeks. The “hotel” or “hospital” where you work is up for sale.

 

The order comes down, straight from the top.6uT

 

‘Be on your best behavior.”  “Keep this place running smoothly.”  “Keep your mouth shut.”

“You never know who might be watching – or standing in front of you.”

 

“Don’t blow it!”

 

Then you hear that the strangers walking around are prospective buyers.

 

“Keep on your toes. Stay alert.”

 

For weeks… months, the staff sees a steady stream of serious buyers canvassing the property.

“Be extra courteous and hospitable,” management team tells everyone.

 

The stream of prospects reduces to a trickle. It might even stop altogether. Or so it seems.

 

Then the big guys show up. With their cameras, webcams, custom-apped smartphones, tape measures, calculators, etc. It appears that they’re walking around every foot of the place. Staff spots them everywhere. Even in secured, private areas.

 

Things quiet down again. You see a handful of the same people moving around the property. Checking things out very carefully, several times. The rumor mill shuts down.

 

Word leaks out: The property has been sold. The G.M. confirms it. An announcement to all staff includes the name or names of the new owner/owners, and their take-over date.

 

All this while you’ve needed to get your work done.

A lull hits the entire organization. An eerie type of mourning engulfs the place. A very brief time is allowed for everyone to accept the news.

 

The transition work begins for everyone.

 

You – and probably everyone else on staff – start asking the same questions:

 

  1. What are the new company’s policies and rules?
  2. What are the new company’s practices that every staff member is expected to follow, effective immediately?
  3. What are the new company’s policies, rules and practices specifically aimed at your department? For your job as “Painter”?
  4. What kind of help will be available if you run into any problem trying to work under the new system?
  5. How long do you get to make the transition?
  6. Is your job at risk? How long do you have?

 

Usually, change takes place very quickly, when a hotel or hospital property is sold.

 

They “clean house” thoroughly. Bodies are moved out at sometimes a shockingly fast speed. And, heads roll.

 

The chain of command may change. Management may change drastically.

 

For those staff members left, job descriptions change and switch. Work shifts and schedules may change. Pay scales, dress codes and benefit packages will probably change.

 

New owners, new managers, new game.

 

Surviving the sale many not be your call. Surviving may, or may not, be what you think.

 

 A few tips for surviving the sale of your workplace

 

  1. Promptly start getting ready for whatever may be coming down, at the first hint of a possible change of hands.
  2. “Keep your nose clean,” as my father once advised.
  3. “Zip your lip,” as my grandfather used to say.
  4. “Prepare for every possible scenario that may affect you,” as I’m suggesting via this blog.

 

Final note: Some property sales move silently and swiftly. No signs. No rumors. No strange visitors milling around. No news!
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Surviving the sale of your work property comes down to your self-preservation skills, and attitude.

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Thanks for following “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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