Wildlife Damage Inspection Training Course

This course was originally designed to train individuals interested in getting involved with wildlife damage inspection on a professional basis. However, homeowners, building inspectors, and do-it-yourselfers will find the information helpful as well.

Special Comments for Home InspectorsApproved by the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors

  1. Please keep in mind that the course was designed for wildlife damage controllers called to a home that is having a problem.
  2. While most home inspectors are involved in building evaluation for a potential buyer, this information will be helpful in that

    a. you will more easily recognize active animal sign.

    b. you will see clues where people have had problems in the past and have worked to resolve them. ie. chimney caps, screened vents, modified bird feeders.

    c. you will become sensitive to the effect that bird feeders, pets and building maintenance have on encouraging or hindering animal populations.

    d. you will be challenged to inspect certain areas with a new perspective that you didn't see before.

As always, let us know what you think of this course. We would appreciate your feedback. Send it to webmaster

Before you get started

As the title suggests, the following section covers introductory issues that you need to address before getting involved in animal damage inspection. I have raised legal, safety informational problems that must be resolved before you begin on-site inspections.

About the Author

Course Length:

The course is divided into 4 lessons

Depending on how fast you read, it can take up to 2 hours to complete.

Before you get started in any animal damage inspection activities, it is important that you keep a few things in mind.

Stop. Inspection work is dangerous. Inspection Work is Dangerous

First, inspections can be incredibly dangerous. Inspections, by that I mean quality inspections, frequently require you do one or more of the following: climb ladders, scale roofs, crawl in attics (and you may not know exactly what you are crawling through), negotiate cluttered basements, respect difficult clients, not to mention the possibility of getting close and personal with an animal. Physical fitness is a must. You don't have to be a Decathlete but you must be coordinated and able to lift yourself up attic entrances while remembering that you can only step on the studs not the dry wall and carry and manipulate heavy ladders. People have died and become severely injured while performing animal damage control work, which includes inspections. Animal damage inspectors also expose themselves to the risk of biological hazards. Animals carry a variety of diseases that can be transmitted to humans through bites, feces, urine, and parasites such as fleas. Note that the photo shows worms that have emerged from a dead opossum. Opossum with worms

One big problem is how little we know about zoonotic (animal borne diseases that are transmitted to humans). I am sure medical doctors will continue to learn more but that may be because more and more people will get exposed as they work in the animal damage control field. In other words, medicine may advance because people like you are the guinea pigs on whom they learn more. To learn more about diseases visit http://icwdm.org/diseases/wildlife_diseases.asp  (If you are looking at this field as a career, I would strongly suggest you consider getting the prophylactic rabies vaccine. Talk to your doctor about whether or not you are a good candidate for the protection).

Am I scaring you? Good. This is not a field for the faint of heart or the uncoordinated. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to perform quality animal damage inspections. But you do need to follow proper safety rules. And even then, following the safety rules may still result in injury or disease or worse.

For example, you may have properly stepped on only the studs when walking in an unfinished attic. But you could still fall through if the studs are too weak to support your weight. Here is another example. Lets say you are wearing a properly fitted HEPA filter face mask to protect your lungs from the fungus spores that cause histoplasmosis. Unfortunately, the spores enter your body through the mucosa of the eye and infect you that way. Is this a rare way to get the disease? Sure, but it is possible. Some time ago, I got some sort of infection that the Doctor was unable to diagnose. After various tests, he had to assume it was some sort of viral infection. Could it have been caused by my work with animal damage control? I don't know for sure but it is possible. Be warned.

 

Inspection involves Legalities

If those two issues weren't enough for you, there is at least one more, the law. Most governments have regulations regarding the control of wildlife. Some have laws regarding those that call themselves inspectors. Be sure to consult your government's laws before entering this field click  http://icwdm.org/Agencies/LawsAndRegs.aspx  for links to government agencies. For an International association of professional wildlife damage controllers called the National Wildlife Control Operators Association http://www.nwcoa.com  It can help you in your search for this sort of information as well. While they can't provide legal advice (they aren't lawyers) they are people in the business who can help you find the right information for yourself.

If I haven't scared you away yet, then let's get started on Unit 1

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