Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Property Damage Assessments and Cleanup Underway in Puerto Rico as Hurricane Irma Moves On

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Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Zimmetry provides testing and consulting services to identify and resolve indoor environmental concerns and hazards following Hurricane Irma.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico -- Yesterday, the eye of Hurricane Irma skirted just north of Puerto Rico preventing a direct hit on the islands. However, it still left a wake of destruction and property damage to numerous residential, commercial and institutional properties.

Before the hurricane reached the islands, Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló had declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard. Many businesses, schools and the University of Puerto Rico also closed their doors in anticipation of the category 5 hurricane.

As the hurricane left the region, leaving over 1 million residents of Puerto Rico without electricity, people have begun to assess property damage due to strong winds, heavy rains, flooding and tidal surges. It’s important that residents recognize that mold will begin to grow in less than 48 hours on many water damaged building materials, furnishings and personal belongings if they remain wet. Due to this fact, it is essential to begin properly drying materials as soon as it is safe to do so.  Some nonporous materials can be cleaned and salvaged, but many porous materials will need to be discarded. 

“For those who experienced flooding caused by Hurricane Irma, they need to be aware that floodwaters often contain bacteria and chemical contaminants from the surrounding area,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “Coming into contact with flood damaged building materials, furnishings and belongings can create exposure concerns. Another important issue during cleanup, demolition and repair activities is the potential presence of asbestos-containing materials and lead-based paints.  Asbestos fibers and lead dusts can be easily aerosolized creating serious health concerns.”

Helping residents assess indoor environmental quality (IEQ) issues in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma are the building science experts at Zimmetry. Their professionals provide IEQ testing and consulting services so that buildings can be properly assessed for hazards and then correctly repaired without risking the health and safety of building occupants or workers. These services also are essential for keeping companies and institutions in compliance with lead and asbestos regulations.

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