Fortunately there were no reports of injuries, but the earthquake reminded residents that they do live in an area that is known to have seismic activity. Although reports of structural damage have been minor, some building owners and occupants were still faced with cracked floors and walls as well as broken windows and plumbing.
After an earthquake has struck, people need to be aware of aftershocks and numerous potential hazards before they enter their homes, schools and businesses. Once it is deemed safe to return, building occupants may discover a wide range of indoor environmental hazards. Some things people should be aware of include the following:
Inspect utilities for damage. 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 chemicals.
Earthquakes can release large 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 begin infiltrating into buildings, this process is known as vapor intrusion. Radon entering through cracks is also a consideration.
Fire is also a common occurrence following an earthquake. Apart from direct damage caused by fires, the soot, char and ash from smoke can also cause indoor environmental concerns even in properties not directly touched by the flames.
“Even minor earthquakes can impact the health and safety of people indoors,” reports Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “It is important for people to understand what to look out for and to be prepared. For those with concerns about the health and safety of their indoor environment, Zimmetry has experts on standby to help at a moment’s notice to inspect, consult and test for a wide range of indoor environmental concerns.”
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their indoor air quality, environmental and compliance consulting services, please visit www.zimmetry.com, call (787) 995.0005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 IESAs and general environmental consulting services.