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Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 4: Creating a Makeshift Shelter

Sometimes, you don’t have the option to leave where you’re at, and go to a community shelter to ride out a major storm such as a hurricane.

If you’re at work, it’s your shift. You’ll need to stay put. You may need to put in two or three straight shifts, or more. Teammates may not be able to make it in to work. Also, you may need to stay longer to help secure the property so that others – eg. hotel guests – will be safe.

If you’re at the home of a friend or relative, you may need to stay and help secure the place in case the storm hits there. You may need to take responsibility for their welfare and safety.

If you’re at home, you may or may not be able to vacate, and go to a shelter.

So, how do you create a makeshift shelter wherever you’re at? How do you protect yourself, and possibly others for whom you may be responsible? The following tips are based on preparing a temporary shelter in your home. But, they can be applied almost anywhere.

1. Be realistic. Your time and resources are probably limited. Don’t tackle more than you can handle.
2. Select a spot that will offer you the most protection. HINT: Windowless room or space in middle of structure, preferably first floor, sustaining wall. Examples: Closet, bathroom, small bedroom, pantry.
3. Remove everything from the space that might take wing in the big wind.
Examples: Bath scale, hamper, decorative hangings, cups/glasses, furniture.
4. Empty the room so that you can maximize the space. Put smaller items in heavy-duty trash bags. Securely tie shut. Place outside of your “shelter” area.
5. Move large pieces outside of area’s entry. TIP: Use them to help form a barricade around your shelter space. Examples: Oak chest, upholstered chair, table.
6. Inside “shelter” space, select the SPOT where you will actually sit it out.
7.Over that SPOT, lay large, heavy-duty trash bags. On top, place 1 or 2 large comforters. Add for each person: 1 zip-out sleeping bag or 2 blankets, 1 bed pillow/ double-cased, 2 bedsheets. Add: flashlights with fresh batteries, also 2 bottled waters per person.
8. If “shelter” space is a bathroom, set closed 1-to-5 gallon containers of water close to toilet for flushing. TIP: At least 10 gallons. You don’t know how long you will be in this space. Supply with toilet paper, moist wipes, handy-wipes, hand sanitizer; bottled waters.
9. If “shelter” space is NOT a bathroom, turn nearby spot/corner into a lavatory area. “Equip” with one or two, 5-gallon buckets or a large, heavy storage container – all with tight-fitting lids. “Supply” with package toilet paper, pack moist wipes, cylinder handy-wipes, heavy-duty trash bag, tall kitchen garbage bag; bottled waters (for drinking).
10. Fill a small plastic storage container with toiletry and hygiene aids. Secure lid. Place next to spot where you will sit. Suggested items: 2-3 packs moist wipes, First-Aid kit, 2 rolls toilet paper, 1 roll paper towels, 1 tube toothpaste, 1 toothbrush per person, 1 small or medium sized bottle mouthwash.
11. Put foods and healthy snacks that do not need preparation or cooling into another container. Close with tight lid. Place this container near “shelter” spot. Include: can opener, pack of foam or plastic plates or bowls, cups; plastic eating utensils (forks, spoons, knives); roll of paper towels.
12. Within easy reach, set large cooler/insulated container. Last minute, place freeze packs plus foods that need to stay cold. TIP: Limit items, their size and quantity to prevent spoilage, and possible poisoning. Suggested: Foods you can eat or drink from their disposable containers.
13. Within easy reach, set 1 or more cases of bottled water.
14. Within easy reach, place plastic container with “time fillers” inside. Examples: ballpoint pens, box crayolas/colored markers; puzzle booklets, activity books, “finger” puzzles (eg. Rubic Cube, Eboi); box playing cards, small game, 2 notebooks, small all-band radio/fresh batteries; extra packages of batteries, 2-3 paperback books, devotional book, your smaller Bible.

IMPORTANT TIP: Try to set up this entire area so it’s relatively safe and comfortable, also easy to keep clean, hygienic and dry.

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

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Any potential major disaster needs to be respected, and taken seriously.
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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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

Many of the following tips make sense when preparing for any natural disaster.

 

IMPORTANT PAPERWORK, COMPUTERS, PERIPHERALS, ETC.

 

  1. SECURE all flash drives, software packages, important papers, logs, supply/inventory lists, guidebooks and manuals, etc. in weatherproof metal box. Store in chief engineer’s private storage unit on the property, or in main office of hotel or facility.
  2. Carefully place all computers, cords, hard drives, and other peripherals into their original boxes if you have them, or equally sturdy storage boxes. Also put them in your boss’s storage.

 

PAINTSHOP MATERIALS, SUPPLIES, TOOLS, EQUIPMENT

 

  1. Clear off all open surfaces such as workbenches, countertops, tables, etc.
  2. Clear off the floor. Remove everything from all traffic areas – real, potential, emergency.
  3. Move smaller objects such as supplies and manual hand tools into sturdy cabinets and closets.
  4. Place paintbrushes into their wrappers, or clean newspaper pages. Place on end in clean, dry, plastic 5-gallon paint buckets. Secure lids. TIP: With permanent black marker, print BRUSHES on lid and several spots around bucket. Store upright in closet or large cabinet that locks.
  5. Place roller covers into their plastic wraps, bubble wrap, or soft shipping paper. Place in clean 5-gallon plastic bucket(s). Secure lids. Label bucket. Store in same closet or cabinet as brushes.
  6. Carefully wrap spray guns in clean, heavier fabric, soft vinyl, foam sheets, or bubble wrap. Tie twine or smaller rope around to secure. Place guns, boxes of tips, repair parts, etc. in 5-gallon bucket. Secure lid. TIP: Use permanent black marker to label “SPRAY GUNS” several places.
  7. Tightly close, then move all containers of paint and finishing products, wallcoverings, etc. into closets with secure door locks. TIP: Cram everything into the corners. Neatness helps later.
  8. Wrap power hand tools with attached electrical cords in heavy ply plastic or bubble wrap. TIP: I like to use doubled-up zip-lock freezer bags. Place tools together in smaller tool box with lid, heavy box or crate. Place in waterproof cabinet or closet with secure door locks.
  9. Place all electrical cords, connectors, plugs, etc. in deep drawers. Run rope or heavy twine through drawer handles and around knobs. Inter-tie off with nautical knot.
  10. Place sharp objects, tools, etc. into thick cardboard boxes, or wooden crates. Secure inside a cabinet or closet that locks tightly.
  11. Turn over tables and movable benches. Push against the inside walls of workshop.
  12. Put chairs, stools, etc. into a closet. OR, jam them under any of the built-in workbenches.
  13. After you’ve moved the smaller items into cabinets and closets, place all shorter ladders, multi-purpose stools, carts, wheelbarrels, etc. inside the same closets. TIP: I like to set them on their sides, then tightly PUSH them against the rest of the stored supplies, tools, equipment.
  14. Roll your heaviest equipment such as compressors into whatever closet still has room.
  15. Turn your heaviest, largest ladders on their ends. Tightly push them against the turned over tables and movable benches already hugging the inside walls of the workshop. TIP: Rex in Miami lays the ladders flat, one long end pushed against an inner wall. Then he “wheels” his heaviest, portable equipment between ladder rungs. Last, he ties the pieces of equipment to each other using heavy rope. “In Katrina, the guys helped me move concrete blocks onto the ladder rungs. Nothing budged.”

 

 

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 longer.

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

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

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 2: “The Dirty Side of the Storm”

The dirty side of a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane is where your local meteorologists wish you weren’t going to be.

 

1. What is it?

A. Area behind the hurricane’s eye, or core.

B. Area where the worst after-effects will be felt.

C. Area where the extent of the worst effects are so unpredictable and dangerous.

 

2. What are the qualifications for an area to be named “the dirty side?”

A. Area has wider and longer bands of severe weather elements – eg. reaching far from core.

B. Area has very forceful bands of sustaining severe elements – eg. whipping wind gusts.

C. Area has deeper bands that can cause other severe conditions – eg. return tornado funnels.

 

3. What severe problems will you see?

A. Worst, most viscous winds.

B. Tornado funnels that keep rotating, lifting up, and dropping to the ground again.

C. Torrential, beating rains.

D. No visibility

 

4. How can you avoid these problems?

A. Stay out of the hurricane’s path. Evacuate in time.

B. Heed the warnings. Obey the laws and curfews put into effect.

C. Stay out of the area until emergency operations say it’s safe to return.

D. If you can’t leave, promptly secure the space in which you will be taking cover.

 

5. What if you can’t leave?

A. Find the most secure inside-walled, windowless place to hide – eg. closet, room, hallway.

B. Put only what you need to survive for at least five days in that space.

C. Get into that space way before the core/eye approaches.

D. Do not leave that space until the hurricane has completely left.

E. WARNING: Lulls are common; they don’t mean the hurricane has left, the danger is over.

 

By the way, I heard two national network meteorologists state that, when the cone or eye shrinks, the surrounding bands will trigger the worst effects.

 

CLOSING THOUGHT: The “dirty side” of any natural disaster forces us to act, to prioritize, and to accept that we humans are not who holds the real power.

 

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Respect any natural disaster that comes your way;

it’s there to teach you, and I, something!

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I hope that you, and those you care about, are safe. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

Hotel/Facility Painters: Is Outsourcing Your Paintshop Services in Your Future?

It should come as no surprise to any hotel/resort staff member, when the news arrives that the management and operations of a certain department will be outsourced.

 

Other mid-to-large sized for-profit employers have been farming or “outsourcing” for needed services for years. More and more local, county and state governments have been contracting out for the management and operation of entities under their umbrella.

 

What throws a hard, curve ball is when the outsourcing company is going to move in its own people to staff that department, which is a part of the organization. EXAMPLES: Food and Beverage/Catering, Pools and Gazebos, Housekeeping/Laundry, Security, Sales, Conventions.

 

With a large department, the outsourcing company may opt to employ certain existing hotel staff members. Persons experienced working in that area, and with its targeted guests and visitors.

 

Usually, these persons need to complete new, pre-employment forms for the external company. Including for federal and state tax withholdings. Usually, the persons do not need to go through the hotel’s Human Resources’ job application and screening process.

 

So far, hotel engineering departments have been exempted from the contracted outsourcing system of employment. Some exceptions exist.

 

  1. The property owners decide to outsource the management and operations of the entire hotel business. Here, existing staff can sign on with the external company, or a designated staffing company.

 

  1. The outsourcing company “out-sources” the hotel’s engineering department services.

Note: Designated staff members may be able to apply to the outside company, to continue to work at the same hotel.

 

  1. The outsourcing company decides to switch engineering operations to a temporary and on-call arrangement. For all positions and tasks, or for certain positions and tasks.

Note: Usually, some of the current engineering staff members are offered the opportunity to work in his/her current – or a similar – position, but as a temporary or on-call worker.

 

In all cases, some positions are eliminated. Some job quotas are reduced. A lot of department re-organization takes place.

 

In smaller businesses – eg. hotels and inns, clinics, hospitals – the services of a full-time painter may not be needed any longer. They may not be affordable. Within the budget.

 

Thus, the career hotel/facility painter needs to be ready to adapt. And, to switch “employers,” if and when the time comes.

 

At the same time, take note!

 

Not all outsourcing arrangements work. Many get axed at some point. Department management and operations are returned to in-house people. Former staff members may be re-hired. Experienced employees are put back in charge of operating their respective department.

 

After reasonable tries, more city and county governments are voting against renewing their contracts with outsourcing companies. Businesses are tightening up qualifications and expectations for their outsourcing contractors. They are more closely, and accurately, computing the bottom line.

  1. “Are we really saving money? “
  2. “What’s the trade-off been within – and for – our community?”

Hotels and resorts are listening to their experienced staff members, about major organizational and ethical problems dealing with the outsource company’s people. Hospitals report losing once loyal employees and community support. Also they report an increase in serious liability quality-of-service and patient treatment issues.

 

What can a hotel painter do to influence top management and owners in deciding which way to go?

 

  1. Show a greater and more sincere interest in your hotel, and especially in your teammates. What’s really going on with them? What’s great, so-so, not good at all? Share in any on-going dialogue among your coworkers. Your bosses, too. TIP: Hold back a little here. Keep “person,” “personal,” and “personality” out of this.
  2. Show an interest in the “outsourcing” discussion. Periodically, exchange a few ideas with your chief engineer. Especially, if you’re the lead painter and help him handle a lot of the troubleshooting.
  3. Discreetly ask questions. Try to find out the reasons management is looking at outsourcing your job. Or, the entire engineering department.

 

THEN, ZERO IN ON YOUR POSITION…YOUR FUTURE.

 

  1. Update the hotel’s job description for your job. Provide a clear, detailed picture of exactly what you do there. Include both standard and special skills and abilities that your hotel’s painter must have. To get the job done! NOTE: Now is not the time to underestimate and undervalue what the real job entails. Now is not the time for humility.
  2. List the types of tasks, orders, projects, and emergency jobs you have done. Estimate the frequency with which you’ve done each. Indicate the location of each on the property. TIP: Keep your own on-site painter’s photo gallery up to date, and captioned!
  3. List the customer service functions you perform. That includes for team members, fellow staff members, managers; guests, visitors; suppliers, vendors, contractors; inspectors; and the community.
  4. Offer your experience and insight as input to the (a) chief engineer and (b) general manager. Limit what you offer in information to details that will positively support your bosses’ true position. Also, their short-range and long-range goals.

 

Final Note: As the staff painter, you are often in a unique and influential position. You tend to come into regular contact with coworkers and managers in many of the departments and work areas within the hotel’s organization. You tend to “brush shoulders” with certain aspects of the hotel or facility’s actual business.

 

Bottom Line: You may be able to play a key role in management’s decision to outsource. Or not.

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“Press toward the mark that you want to leave behind.”  RDH

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2012, 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Hotel Painting During a Major Downturn

In lodging, the slow season varies in different regions of the country – even in ertain areas within a given state.

 

The climate – weather – has a lot to do with it. So do school terms, vacation times – both school and employment, busy seasons in a specific industry, trade or business. And a host of other “issues.”

 

In Florida, the slower season tends to fall between the second week of January through March, or even April.

 

If you’re a staff painter working in Florida, the slower season is a good time to get things done. Fewer guests and visitors, fewer emergency calls and work orders, and fewer interruptions.

 

But the “slower season” is also the period of lower revenues, lowered budget, and much lower supply of resources.

 

If you’re a contract painter, the slower period may be the right time to branch out and to do some freelance work.

 

TEN “SLOWER SEASON” SOLUTIONS FOR THE STAFF PAINTER

 

  1. Before Day 1 of the slow season, decide with your chief engineer (a) what work orders and projects must stay on the roster, and (b) what projects must be shelved.
  2. Take a closer look at that list of necessary work orders and projects. Whittle it down by 25 percent.
  3. Then, prioritize those according to daily and weekly jobs.
  4. Next, establish a budget, or cost estimate, for each – based on the supplies needed to do each.
  5. Take a closer look. You may see that the list of necessary work orders and projects can be shortened. Example: Working on “bathrooms re-paint” project can be spread out over a longer period of time. Say five bathrooms a week or every two weeks, versus five a day.
  6. The toughest time: Shelve the “necessary” work orders and projects that require the most outlay of money for materials and supplies. Note: That may be the most money for few supplies. TIP: This amount may end up being your allotment for paintshop emergencies. Your contingency fund.
  7. Now you’re ready to schedule out your work load for each week during the dry spell, budget-wise.
  8. Be prepared for additional cutbacks (a) across-the-board organizationally, then (b)unilaterally throughout your Engineering Department.
  9. When you’re asked or expected to perform paintshop miracles during an already “bare bones” massive budget freeze, here’s what you do next:
  10. GET CREATIVE. GET TOUGH. GET WISE.

 

TWO DO GOOD-FEEL GOOD TIPS:

  1. Seek out and volunteer to perform other essential tasks in your department – eg. maintenance, grounds.
  2. Volunteer to split your work-day time. Help out in another busier department that has also suffered staff cutbacks – eg. housekeeping, kitchen, guest services

 

Your bottom line objectives during any slower season:

  1. Keep the paintshop running.
  2. Keep your job.

 

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The “slower season” does not mean it’s the time for you to slow down on the job.

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Thank you for staying on task, whatever your regular job description.

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” blog.

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

MEET “VICTORIA!”

val2

The main character in

Victoria’s Valentine,

our family’s V-Day tale this year.

 

“Victoria” is really “Delilah.” Age: 5+ years here.

Owner/Rescuer: Darlene Serpa, Serpentine Saint Bernards,

Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation, Clearlake, California.

Source: Darlene serpatierra@mchsi.com.

Paintshop: 21st Century Work Partners: Software Programs and Hand-Held Devices

Twenty-seven year old painter Ben got a big shock when he returned to work after a two-week vacation.

 

“Effective immediately…” started the memo. A hand-held tablet would be his “work partner” wherever he went throughout each work day.

 

Using the device, he would be expected to perform the following functions on a daily basis:

 

  1. Clock in and clock out.
  2. Select from list the exact tasks and work orders he would be completing that day.
  3. Select from list the project(s) he would be working on – and the stage of each.
  4. Select products, materials and supplies he would be using for each task, work order and project. That included colors by name and manufacturer product number.
  5. List each work order as it came to him, indicating the start, pause/delay and completion times of each; list of products, supplies and tools for each; brief description of problem(s) incurred; and, future recommendations.
  6. List quantity/amount of each product, material and supply used.
  7. Submit weekly requisitions for basic products, materials and supplies needed to work on any painting task within the next two weeks.
  8. Record when requisition orders were filled, then when supplies were actually delivered.
  9. Maintain paintshop inventory on weekly basis.
  10. Log all communications with supervisor(s) related to each task, work order and project.
  11. Maintain contact list of manufacturers’ representatives, supply stores, sales staffs, etc.

 

In other words, a fair percentage of Ben’s work time would be spent using the hand-held device.

 

“I don’t have a problem with it,” he e-mailed. “But it cuts into my actual painting time like you wouldn’t believe.” He added that he needed to share more details about how the system worked. “No time.”

 

“What’s nice about it is, at any time, I can plug my hand-held into any printer at the hotel, and print out a copy of any file, communication, list, worksheet, chart, color palette sheet, etc. That’s been a big help.”

 

Ben added that the devices are kept in the department when not in use. Locked up at the end of the day in a cabinet inside the chief engineer’s office.

 

I think the concept is great. And full access to a hand-held device with a top quality painting or paintshop software program can save the painter a lot of paperwork, time, and money. Especially when the painter is allowed ample control about how he uses it.

 

RECOMMENDED PAINTER/PAINTING CONTRACTOR SOFTWARE PROGRAMS

1. General and cross-function: www.getjobber.com; www.knowify.com; www.go.intouchinsight.com;

2. Estimating, bidding, invoicing: www.paintestimating.com; www.invoice2go-enterprise.com; www.quickpaintingproposals.com; 3. Business: www.CorkCRM.com.

 

By the way, most of the above online software companies offers an APP version. Ben suggested checking into the possibility of purchasing/downloading and interfacing two or more systems.

 

“Your paintshop and engineering department may need to use more than one program to cover your bases. Also, your department might need to sit down with an IT creative and develop a few custom sub-programs. Example: A running and cross-referencing inventory list.”

 

Thanks, Ben, for the information.

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Smart paintshop practices include whatever support systems and devices that will make work easier. 

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Thanks to everyone for revisiting “Painting with Bob” in 2017.

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

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