After a gymnasium fire spread smoke throughout a high school, Paul Davis knew exactly how to eliminate lingering odours that posed a danger to students: hydroxyl generation. Technicians used special equipment to direct this odour-neutralizing substance into affected areas. In less than three weeks, the gymnasium smelled fresh, clean and ready to welcome the student body. 

J Murphy, Senior Vice-President of Operations for Paul Davis, answered questions about this extremely effective methodology that is speeding fire restoration in commercial buildings.

Q. What are hydroxyls and how do they eliminate odor?

A. Hydroxyl radicals are highly reactive, beneficial molecules that form, react and disappear in under two seconds. Their reactivity allows them to grab odour molecules, transform them into harmless substances and then neutralize themselves. They are very safe around people and pets and that’s why they’re perfectly suited to deodourize areas like schools and office buildings.

Hydroxyl radicals occur naturally in outside air everywhere every day. They have been called the “detergent” of the atmosphere because they neutralize and destroy many pollutants.

Q. How is this technology different from other odour-removal methods?

A. Hydroxyls actually destroy odour particles. When this technology has treated an area, the odour will not return with time or moisture – it is completely gone. Insurers love it because it’s a very economical and relatively speedy way to completely solve the problem. 

Other technologies mask odour, simply covering them up with better scents. Masking agents are temporary so the odour will eventually return. Ozone – also naturally occurring in the environment – destroys odour particles but can harm people and pets and degrade natural materials like fur, leather and rubber.

Why is it necessary to remove smoke odour?

This is a great question that we get a lot: it’s just a smell, how could it hurt me? The truth is that smoke odour contains hundreds of dangerous substances from toxic gases like carbon monoxide to heavy metals like lead to chemicals like hydrogen cyanide and tiny particles that can be breathed in. Smoke smell also triggers traumatic memories for fire victims. Eliminating odour safeguards occupants’ physical and mental health.

Q. How does Paul Davis deploy hydroxyl technology?

A. The equipment that generates hydroxyls allows us to easily push these reactive molecules wherever they are needed, even above ceilings and behind walls. In another recent school project, we created a chamber around banks of lockers against concrete walls and focused hydroxyls into those specific areas. Techniques vary according to each situation.

Q. Can any company use this technology with the same results?

A. Hydroxyl generators – like any tool – are only as good as the technician that wields them. Our technicians understand how different materials generate different types of smoke, how smoke affects areas and surfaces, how to set up treatment areas and how to properly deploy the technology for maximum effectiveness. Experience and practice improve results. Since that first very successful school project, we’ve been asked to handle large losses at four other schools just in the last year.

When disaster strikes, this is no time for second best. Call Paul Davis at 888-473-7669.