People who work in the pest control, disaster response, and crime scene clean-up industries must know how to use fumigation and decontamination equipment. This equipment is specially designed to sanitize large areas and make them habitable once again. There are various types of fumigation and decontamination equipment, each of which serves a different, but important function.
Fumigants and Decontaminants
There are a host of products available for commercial fumigation and decontamination. Fumigants are gaseous chemicals designed to kill or drive away pests, including rodents, insects and even mold. Decontaminants, which can be gases, liquids or solids, are designed to kill parasites and pathogens in an area in order to make it suitable for living creatures. Phosphine, chloropicrin, hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde are just a few fumigants that workers use. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide is a widely used decontaminant that kills many types of bacteria, viruses and microscopic animals. Other decontaminants include detergents, alcohols and liquid disinfectants.
Sprayers and Pumps
The chemicals used in fumigation and decontamination are dispensed most often using sprayers and pumps. These industrial sprayers come in various sizes. Pest control workers usually employ smaller, portable sprayers with a harness that allows them to be carried on the worker's back. Larger sprayers are too heavy to carry, and so have long hoses that allow the worker to reach all areas that are to be fumigated. The spray nozzles on the sprayers are often narrow and long, allowing workers to treat all crevices of the affected location. Even larger systems will simply connect to the air system of the location and use large hoses to pump fumigant and decontaminants into the building.
The chemicals used in fumigation and decontamination are often highly toxic, not only to the offending organisms, but also to humans and other animals. Because of that fact, workers must use equipment to protect themselves, others and the environment. Workers themselves wear masks, gloves or even full-body decontamination suits. They also cover items such as furniture, appliances, walls and other fixtures with special, chemical-resistant plastic sheets. With fumigation, workers will often set up a leak-proof tent around the entire building. They will also seal vents and drains with special seals to prevent dangerous chemicals from reaching outside air or getting into the water system.
Removal, Disposal and Storage Equipment
The contaminated materials in an area are sometimes unusable after being decontaminated and must be carefully removed, disposed of and (in some cases) stored. For large clean-up and decontamination projects, moving equipment, such as backhoes, bulldozers, front loaders and dump trucks are used. Industrial trash bags and dumpsters are also items that are crucial to the clean-up of hazardous waste. Some waste is too hazardous to be placed in landfills, so workers must use impenetrable biohazard containers that are stored in toxic waste centers.
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