Equipment & Tools
This section will cover equipment you need to properly inspect a property for animal damage, as well as the equipment you need to protect yourself against personal injury. Understand the information provided here stands as only the beginning of the equipment you will eventually need or use. Hopefully, it will wet your appetite for more information as it isn’t complete (we are always learning more).
Personal Protection Equipment #1
Before you get started in any animal damage inspection activities, it is important that you keep a few things in mind. 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), navigate 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 professional athlete, 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 become severely injured and even died 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. The photo shows worms that have emerged from a dead opossum.
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://www.cdc.gov (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. 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. Let’s say you are wearing a properly fitted HEPA filter 1/2-face mask to protect your lungs from the fungal 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.
If those 2 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 who call themselves inspectors. Be sure to consult your government’s laws before entering this field. For the U.S. and Canada, an organization called the National Wildlife Control Operators Association http://www.nwcoa.com should be able to help you in your search for this sort of information. 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.
Let’s get started on Unit 2B.
©2005 Stephen M. Vantassel