The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) — also known as the HVAC Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Association — has partnered with other industry organizations to implore the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prioritize heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians, plumbing and utility service professionals, and heating fuel delivery drivers for Phase 1B COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Already deemed essential in the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) most recent list of critical infrastructure workers, HVACR technicians, plumbing and utility service professionals, and heating fuel delivery drivers must enter homes and businesses on a daily basis to service, repair, or replace plumbing, heating, or ventilation systems, refrigeration units, or related appliances and equipment. They frequently interact with homeowners, tenants, and their family members, some of which are members of the most vulnerable populations. These workers always wear personal protective equipment and strictly abide by CDC guidelines to protect themselves and their customers, however, there is always a risk of exposure — especially when working in smaller residential units.
NADCA, along with Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA), American Public Gas Association (APGA), Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA), National Association of Oil & Energy Service Professionals (OESP), National Energy & Fuels Institute (NEFI), Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association, Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), Women in Energy, and Women in HVACR, has asked that these factors be considered for next steps in the national vaccine plan, and, specifically, prioritize these professionals as critical workers in Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
While deployment plans for vaccines does not rest exclusively with the federal government, the CDC, or national medical organizations, organizations at the federal level provide guidance to state and local governments, and will be pivotal for seamless vaccine distribution among all stakeholders, helping to ensure the long-term health of American families and workers, and bolster the national economic recovery.
“We certainly applaud the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recent recommendation that healthcare professionals, long-term care facilities, and the most vulnerable seniors be given priority access to vaccines during its Phase 1A distribution,” said Mark Zarzeczny, ASCS, CVI, NADCA’s President and Chairman of the Board. “As the weather turns colder, and Americans head indoors, they’ll rely more and more on HVACR technicians to keep their homes and businesses warm.”
“NADCA has partnered with several industry organizations to release a joint statement to persuade the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to prioritize these critical workers for the next phase of vaccine distribution.”
This recent action isn’t the first time NADCA has advocated for its members. Earlier this year, NADCA partnered with the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) and the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) to release a joint statement to federal, state, and local officials requesting they recognize and cite HVAC technicians, air duct cleaning companies, surface cleaning/disaster restoration contractors, and indoor air quality professionals as essential businesses.
To further support members, NADCA created a website that serves as a repository of useful information for the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, NADCA anticipates a greater consumer demand for NADCA members to "sanitize" or "disinfect" HVAC systems, and while numerous antimicrobials on the market have been approved for use in HVAC systems and ductwork, not all antimicrobials approved for HVAC components can be claimed to sanitize or disinfect. The support site includes guidelines for the use of chemicals and antimicrobials in HVAC systems.
Finally, with a dangerous shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the healthcare industry earlier this year, NADCA called on members to donate PPE to the GetUsPPE organization. NADCA represents more than 1,300 small and large businesses and more than 3,000 certified technicians, with most routinely utilizing PPE. Items requested included gloves, masks, N95 Respirators, face shields, booties, safety goggles, and more.
For COVID-19 resources and information for the HVAC and air duct cleaning industries, visit https://nadca.com/resources/covid19.