How does wind effect fumigation?

How the wind factors in when we do fumigation

The wind can play a significant role when we do fumigation. If winds are too strong it will lessen the effectiveness of the fumigation and poses a threat to the safety of our staff and your property.

Fumigation Preparation

Our fumigation team has to haul several thick heavy (gas-proof) tarpaulins, each weighing around 430kg, up onto the roof of the building being fumigated. 

The tarps are then dragged into strategic positions on the roof of the structure – there is real skill in this. Our experienced fumigators know exactly what tarps need to be positioned where to “fall” in exactly the right place and overlap with each other. No mean feat when working with 80m x 100m tarpaulins and trying very hard not to damage roof tiles.

Once in position, the tarps are then unfolded on the roof and carefully “dropped” or lowered down the sides of the building. 

Where two tarpaulins meet and overlap, our staff have to join them together, creating a leak proof seal. The fold the edges of the two tarpaulins over and clamp them together using many big heavy metal clamps. 

This work is not for the faint-hearted – even in perfect conditions it can be dangerous. 

In high winds, it is impossible.

What are the main dangers with wind?

  1. While preparing the building for fumigation (before the ProFume gas goes in) if there are high winds, or even just sudden gusts of wind, it can cause the tarpaulins to billow up like a sail.The sudden effect is extremely dangerous to staff members working on the roof, sometimes several stories high. If they are holding onto a 430kg sail that is suddenly swept into the air, the effects can be disastrous and deadly. We cannot take any risks with our staff’s lives and safety is always our number one priority.
  1. After the building is finished the preparation and is covered and sealed or  “tented” and the ProFume gas inserted the risks in windy conditions increase even further:
  • Heavy clamps and tarpaulins covering the structure can be moved around by the wind, which can cause severe structural damages to our client’s building, especially things like gutters, downpipes, roof tiles, glass windows, chimneys etc can be badly damaged. 
  •  The billowing wind can easily rip open a tarpaulin. Apart from causing damage to very expensive tarpaulins, more worryingly is the leaking out and loss of ProFume gas. When tarps are ripped by the wind the client runs the very real risk of a failed fumigation.
  • Even though we leave a staff member on site overnight to keep an eye on the weather and our fumigation tarps, there is a limit to what one or two individuals can do in the face of a 430kg tarpaulin billowing suddenly in a gust of wind that comes up at 2am.

How do we decide when it is safe to proceed with a fumigation?

Most fumigations require the building to remain tented for 24 -48 hours and sometimes up to 72 hours gas exposure, before we remove or “drop” the tarpaulins.

Assessing the risk of wind on the final decision to proceed is not a simple matter and these are some of the factors that influence the decision: 

  1. The location of the property.

Is it elevated or not? Structures on the top of a hill are usually more exposed to wind, than one tucked away in a dip or valley of the suburb. Properties right at the beachfront or in particularly windy areas are much higher risk and consequently we need to be more cautious with the wind forecasts. 

  1. Structures surrounding the property.

If the building being fumigated is a stand alone structure with open space around, it will be far more exposed to wind than rows of buildings standing close together in the city centre. A small house may be protected by the large church buildings next door that is shielding it from the prevailing wind. Another home a little further down the road may be in the direct wind path. 

  1. Is the building a single or multi storey structure?

A single storey is less risky to the effects of wind being lower to the ground, needing shorter tarpaulins so there is less to potentially billow and rip. 

  1. Are there potential risks to surrounding properties.

For example to fumigate a house that has a nearby business or structure or creche next door, that could potentially be harmed or damaged by flying tarpaulin, leaking gas or clamps, would have its own set of risks that will need to be assessed and dealt with. 

  1. Distance of the property to our offices.

If the property is nearby to our offices or fumigators’ homes, it will be quick and easy for us to pop in to check up, bring extra ropes or backup to sort out any fumigation wind-related issues. However for a fumigation being undertaken in a neighbouring town 50km away, we would need to be far more cautious when looking at wind forecasts.

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