A reader asks: "I have customers demanding an Ebola Preparedness Plan that they can publicize to their tenants. After closely reading the contract, it is a requirement I never thought I would have to deal with. This requirement is going to increase my labor and chemical budget. Any suggestions?"

If you are following commonly accepted practice in cleaning/sanitizing restrooms and key areas, your costs may not change that much if and when there is an actual outbreak in the area.

1. We also may need to suggest more wearing/changing out of gloves and other PPEs for our staff as well as security personnel. Remember to promote hand washing and sanitizers.

2. As to EPA number requirements for chemicals used we may need to have acquire that information from vendors since I doubt if any CDC list is completely up to date. Note that claiming to be a disinfectant without the EPA registration number in hand is not acceptable.

3. As to cost, I really doubt if the cost of a few more gallons of a product per year will generate the need for a price adjustment in most cases. If so, we need to have clear documentation on a case by case basis to support our position.

4. My basic definition of sanitize is 50 to 99 percent kill rate and disinfecting is 99.99999 percent kill rate including spores. Sterilization is not practical since it requires extreme heat such as an autoclave for surgical instruments that have been thoroughly cleaned first.

5. Yes, bleach (fresh and used correctly) is oftentimes the number one recommended product if there is an outbreak. Note that it is also considered non green, caustic, dangerous to skin/lungs and can remove color from most fibers including carpet.

6. Not sure if the bleach brand must have its own EPA registration or not but would tend to lean towards having it as well as specific guidance on safe/effective use for disinfecting.

7. Dwell time for all disinfectants/sanitizers is very important for it to be effective.

8. And yes, custodians are the front line of defense in this area. Training, documentation and close cooperation/communication with customers and their tenants is very important.

The world is changing and we have to change along with it. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.