We are so inspired by our heroes in the field: The P1 Group personnel getting out there at a dangerous time, continuing to do their jobs so our customers can keep doing theirs, and our Safety team, keeping them safe while they do it.
While our office associates are supporting from home and office, some of our field personnel, who serve customers in critical environments every day, have been sharing their experiences.
“I’m currently working at Hills Pet Foods in Emporia,” Wichita Service Technician Allen Eastridge said. “When the virus breakout first started, I had to sign a waiver saying I hadn’t been traveling on a cruise or any hot spots. Now, when I get on site each day, I have to take my temperature and verify I have no symptoms.”
St. Joseph Service Technician Chris Lentz was impressed with how one customer is keeping employees safe.
“Nestle Purina has been extremely proactive throughout this,” he said. “It’s a large plant and when this whole thing started I noticed signage everywhere reminding people to stay six feet apart when possible.
“They’ve broken up break areas for employees, so departments use different areas set up in the warehouse and conference rooms to reduce the amount of people in break areas. They set up a big tent in the parking lot and have started taking temperatures and screening people before they enter the plant,” Chris said.
“I expect to see more people wearing masks soon. I have asthma so I have an N-100 respirator and some N-95 masks on hand that I usually wear when I mow.”
P1 personnel working with larger hospitals, like Lenexa Senior Project Manager Clinton Gechter, are running into the challenges of turning select hospital rooms into negative pressure rooms.
NOTE: A negative pressure room uses lower air pressure to allow outside air into the segregated environment. This traps and keeps potentially harmful particles within the negative pressure room by preventing internal air from leaving the space. Negative pressure rooms in medical facilities isolate patients with infectious conditions and protect everyone else from exposure.
“I’ve been working with a large Kansas City hospital. In the beginning, it was slow, just a few phone calls asking for some negative pressure isolation room ideas. Around March 9, things took off and it’s been non-stop since,” Clinton said.
“The challenges I have seen faced by the larger hospitals are: what areas to designate as COVID-19; making entire wings of the hospital negative versus just certain rooms; and how quickly a specific room can be converted to negative if needed.”
"P1 has rallied forces to work around the clock as needed to help the hospital get prepared," Clinton added. "We have been able to work with certain vendors and have found some equipment that has outstanding lead times, which we were able to get on site and operational very quickly.”
Our field personnel have to think of their families, too. At-risk family members pose an additional peril.
“One of the jobs I was on cancelled all non-essential repairs. A contractor from a different company was a possible exposure risk, so they had to shut it down and clean the facility. I was out there that day, so I had to take the next day off until it was verified whether it was a legitimate exposure,” Lenexa HVAC Technician Bill Heron said.
“Because my wife is high-risk, we have set up a room in the house that has access to the outside and has a shower. We shut off the return in the room to reduce risk of me bringing anything home to my family.”
For Senior Service Supervisor Sean Marconette, working carefully with hospital teams to ensure facility changes yield safe results is taking up a lot of his time these days.
“I’ve been heavily involved at St. Luke’s, but have also worked at Henderson County, Hedrick Medical Center, Wright Memorial, and Lawrence Memorial hospitals. We are now taking operating rooms, and regular patient rooms, and being asked to make them negative pressure rooms,” Sean said.
“The scary part is often one air handler serves multiple patient rooms and the hospital staff wants to pick and choose certain rooms to become negative. We have to look at it critically: if we are taking air out of that room and it’s being shared with an air handler that serves other rooms, that return air could cross-contaminate other patient rooms. I, along with and Kevin Colvin, WL Cassel, and the engineers, have been working through that,” he explained.
“Operating rooms are a whole different situation. You now have to transport the patent to procedure rooms. They are putting them on a ventilator as they move them through the building to try and contain them.”
It’s risky out there, but our staff is out there, ensuring critical environments function as needed to save lives.
P1 Group Vice President Don Campbell sat in a leadership meeting on Monday, April 6, hearing that the Department of Defense would probably require all personnel working at army and military facilities to wear a face mask of some sort, and sure enough, the directive came down from the DOD shortly thereafter. There was no time, Don had to make it happen now.
“There is a girl on the softball team I coach whose mother owns the embroidery company Sew What?. They had done team hats for us. I saw she is now making face masks for COVID-19 protection,” Don explained.
He immediately got in touch with his friend and asked how soon she could make 30 masks to meet P1 Group’s immediate need. The Sew What? team wasted no time in saving the day, working all night on the masks which Don picked up at 6 a.m. and was able to deliver to the jobsite by mid-morning the next day.
As the need for masks continues to grow for P1 associates working in the field, Don quickly found additional vendors to deliver higher quantities, so we can continue ensuring the safety of our customers and associates.