Some of you may recognize my name, or even the photo next to this column. I’m not exactly a stranger to the plumbing and heating industry. Just over a year ago, I took on the role of chief editor for pme sister publication Plumbing & Mechanical magazine. Prior to that, I spent five years writing about HVAC with another BNP Media sister publication, The ACHR NEWS.
Last February, I sat in this exact spot writing my first editor’s column for PM. Now, as I get ready to step into some very big shoes and take over pme from my predecessor Mike Miazga, I can’t help but reflect on what a different world it is with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The BNP Plumbing Group team has been working tirelessly to share the most credible, up-to-date and useful information to our audiences these past few weeks as the pandemic continues and more states execute “shelter-in-place” or “stay home” orders. I have to thank my fellow editorial staffers Nadia Askar, group multimedia editor, and newly appointed Supply House Times Chief Editor Natalie Forster for being rockstars and continuing to ensure the Plumbing Group publications are the best at providing timely and original content for our readers.
It’s a scary and uncertain time for everyone, but it’s been encouraging to see the plumbing industry pull together to face this challenge.
For instance, Zurn Industries has pledged $1 million in hygienic product donations to qualifying healthcare facilities currently addressing COVID-19. The products include sensor-operated handwashing faucets and soap dispensers, sensor-operated flush valves, a select group of sinks made with CuVerro antimicrobial copper-nickel alloy surfaces and hand dryers. Read more at bit.ly/2JrV5Fq.
Industry organizations such as ASPE, AHRAE and IAPMO have created coronavirus resource pages on their websites to provide current information as it becomes available. Remember, the current situation is changing by the day – so keeping these resources up-to-date is no easy job!
“We are all on the same team — we are in this together and pulling in the same direction,” said Billy Smith, FASPE, ASPE executive director and CEO, in a news release. “Patience and perseverance are the focal points as we all steer our society through these tumultuous times.”
Additionally, with many chapter meetings and exams postponed, these same three organizations have been ramping up their online learning opportunities. For example, ASPE publishes a monthly 12-question quiz that can help accumulate CEUs required for maintaining industry certifications. ASPE also offers on-demand webinars to earn CEUs.
ASHRAE is offering specialized courses, much like the one on the role of HVAC systems in infection control in hospitals that was held earlier this month.
“With regard to training, professional certification and testing, we are working to extend deadlines, reschedule in-person classes and make more on-line programming available,” noted GP Russ Chaney, CEO of The IAPMO Group. “We are working diligently to remain as flexible and accommodating as the rapidly changing circumstances allow. Please give us a call or check the website if you have any questions or concerns.” Read more plumbing industry reactions to COVID-19 at bit.ly/3dQM2f8.
This industry is truly on the frontlines as we fight this pandemic. IAPMO has been advocating for the federal government to list the entire plumbing supply chain as essential workers. As of March 30, they succeeded. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” advisory list to include “Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint/coatings and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.”
In times of need such as this, the PHCP-PVF supply chain, which includes our engineering/specifying community, always steps up when needed. Together, we continue to protect the health and safety of our nation.