Saturday, February 24, 2007

Painting over the mold

And sweeping under the rug. Bryan of Why Now? talks about what they will have to do to fix the out buildings of Walter Reed complex. First, you need to move the soldiers. (my bold)

Living in Florida I have a lot experience with roaches and the other problems, and I do house rehabilitations. I know what it takes to do the job, and what is described in the article won’t cut it.

First you need to get all of the people out of the building because you who have to fumigate, but you don’t waste any time or money on that until you remove the carpets, curtains, furniture and, especially, mattresses. You can sort the furniture and mattresses and treat them separately, but they can’t be reused for an extended period.

Next you check and make sure you don’t have any roof leaks or plumbing leaks. Both roaches and mice need water, so if there is no available source inside, they will go outside. Water is also the culprit in most deterioration of buildings. There is no point in going further until you stop the leaks.

After solving the leak problems, if you have loose wallpaper now is the time to strip it, but wear a mask and eye protection. You should also “square” any holes that need to be patched.

Then you slap HEPA/sheetrock filters into the shopvacs and really get rid of the surface dirt and dust. You don’t want to breathe the crap, and you want it captured, not blown around.

It’s now time to wipe everything down with a solution of chlorine bleach and water. You aren’t cleaning as much as killing mold and mildew. This is followed with soap and water to prepare the building for repairs and painting.

This is the point at which you fumigate to kill the roaches.

Now you are ready to make your repairs and begin painting. If you don’t prepare the building, any repairs or painting will only be good for weeks, rather than years.

So... I wonder which way the repairs will go: do it fast or do it right?

"Some of the paint is still wet against that wall, so be careful," Walter Reed public affairs officer Donald Vandrey, standing on the bed in his socks, advised the film crews. "They just finished repainting it about 10 minutes ago."

Mission accomplished?

Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley thought so. After the media tour of Building 18, the Army's surgeon general gave a news conference. "I do not consider Building 18 to be substandard," he said of a facility Priest and Hull found full of "mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses" and other delights. "We needed to do a better job on some of those rooms, and those of you that got in today saw that we frankly have fixed all of those problems. They weren't serious, and there weren't a lot of them."

Kiley might have had a stronger case if men wearing Tyvek hazmat suits and gas masks hadn't walked through the lobby while the camera crews waited for the tour to start, or if he hadn't acknowledged, moments later, that the entire building would have to be closed for a complete renovation. The general also seemed to miss a larger point identified by other officials: Walter Reed's problem isn't of mice and mold but a bureaucracy that has impeded the recovery of wounded soldiers.

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