Though the calendar says it is spring, one look out the window shows it is still very much winter.
When it is cold and snowy outside things like running water and heating are extremely important. During an epidemic like the current COVID-19 outbreak, makes plumbing services an essential service for all Albertans.
This means that trained men and women will have to come into your home during an epidemic to assess an emergency situation and fix whatever problem may have arisen.
Kelly Fonda, owner of Fonda’s Plumbing and Heating, says in a single day he has received six service calls for homes without heat.
“That is six homes we had to go into and assess the situation to keep families warm and comfortable,” Fonda said.
Plumbers and other tradesmen who are still on the clock to keep Albertans comfortable in their own homes, are given as much protection against the coronavirus as possible while working.
In the case of employees at Fonda’s Plumbing and Heating, precautions are taken right from the beginning of each morning.
Each employee has their temperature taken and asked if they have any symptoms or come into contact with anyone who has symptoms.
“We have been lucky so far, none of my guys have shown any symptoms. If they did they would be sent home to self-isolate,” Fonda says.
Along with a morning procedure, every employee has an arsenal of cleaning supplies, gloves and some masks to ensure their safety, and the homeowner’s, while working.
Fonda says his employees are told to keep their distance from homeowners as much a possible, to keep the prescribed two metre buffer between them.
During this time Fonda says it is also important for homeowners to keep their distance from those coming in to work on their home.
“I know it is tough, you have a stranger coming into your home and you want to watch and be nearby as they work, but right now if it important to keep that buffer,” Fonda said. “You need to trust the tradespeople who are coming into your home.”
Most of those working in trades, such as plumbing, are only taking on emergency work during the epidemic.
According to Fonda, all construction work scheduled has been put on the back burner for the time being.
Instead he and his team are focusing on emergencies such as leaks, no heat calls or frozen pipes.
“People need to think about what they are calling us for. Sure now may seem like a good time to redo that basement bathroom, but it isn’t,” said Fonda.