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Doing A Rehab

Melanie at Just a Bump in the Beltway noticed Dana Millbank’s follow-up of the Walter Reed story in the Washington Post: Painting Over the Problems at Walter Reed’s Building 18.

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 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.

A military barracks is not a college dorm. The military knows about cleaning, and these patients need to feel they are still part of the military. They need duties to keep them occupied and to keep track of them. Those duties must be assigned based on ability, but showing up for roll call and getting assignments gives structure to their lives.


1 Scorpio { 02.24.07 at 6:45 pm }

W is for Whitewash.

2 Bryan { 02.24.07 at 6:54 pm }

The mildew will be back in a week. They paint hospitals like they paint schools.