Earthquake in Puerto Rico Leaves Behind Health and Safety Concerns for Building Owners and Occupants
Zimmetry Environmental provides indoor environmental quality (IEQ) testing and consulting services to identify and prevent exposure to hazards following an earthquake.
Bayamon, Puerto Rico, January 8th, 2020 -- This week, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico killing one person and causing injuries to others. The quake and strong aftershock knocked out power to much of the island and caused damage to infrastructure and buildings, particularly in the southwestern region of the island. A state of emergency was declared by Governor Wanda Vazquez and $130 million has been made available to deal with the aftermath.
A series of quakes began hitting the region in late December. The temblor on Monday left property owners and managers to deal with everything from collapsed buildings and walls to cracks, broken windows and damage to plumbing and other vital building systems. After earthquake damage such as this, people need to be aware of potential hazards that may be encountered in homes, schools and businesses, including indoor environmental exposure risks. These could include the following:
- Gas lines can leak, electrical systems can become damaged, and water and sewer lines can break. Any water damage can lead to mold growth and in the case of sewage, could expose building occupants to hazards associated with viruses, bacteria, parasites, mold and even chemicals.
- Earthquakes can release significant amounts of dust from both the indoors and outdoors. Indoors, in many older properties, this dust could contain asbestos and lead.
- Cracks caused in foundations and basements may also allow for chemicals in the soil and groundwater to infiltrate buildings, this process is known as vapor intrusion. Radon entering through new cracks is also a consideration.
- Fire is also a common occurrence following an earthquake. Apart from direct damage caused by flames, the soot, char and ash from smoke can also result in indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concerns, even in nearby properties not directly touched by the flames.
“It’s important for people to understand what to look out for and to be prepared for future earthquakes,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “For those with concerns about the health and safety of their indoor environment, Zimmetry has experts on standby to inspect, consult and test for a wide range of indoor environmental quality concerns. Issues like lead, asbestos and mold can also become an exposure problem during repair activities if the proper safety precautions are not put in place.”
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and building science assessments, indoor environmental quality testing or other compliance and consulting services, please visit www.zimmetry.com, call (787) 995.0005 or email email@example.com.
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.