Educating Homeowners about Smoke Testing

Download this article in PDF

Proper notification and education of the Public is essential to successful Smoke Testing. This program should begin well in advance and continue up to the day of testing in each area. Notification and coordination with all local emergency departments—particularly fire and police—is also essential.

Steps to Take Before Sewer Testing

  1. Determine the limits of the Test’s impact.
    1. Identify all buildings and residences that may be affected by the Sewer Smoke testing. It is important that all residents and homeowners in the affected area are identified, as well as any emergency response departments liable for the area.

  2. Contact all local emergency departments.
    1. It is imperative that all testing is coordinated with local fire, police, and other emergency departments to avoid confusion and prevent unnecessary responses.
    2. Local fire and police departments should be advised daily of the areas being tested, on a street to street basis.

  3. Send out notification letters to all homeowners in the affected area.
    1. Using Superior Signal’s Sample Letter as a guide, mail notice of testing to all residents and homeowners in the area. This should be done about 2 weeks in advance of testing to ensure that individuals with special circumstances have sufficient times to make arrangements.
    2. Advance notice helps identify persons suffering from heart and/or lung diseases, such as emphysema, who should never be exposed to any smoke.

  4. Utilize Superior Signal’s specially made door hangers to ensure the community is notified.
    1. Superior’s Door Hangers are the best way to make sure that all local residents are aware of the proper precautions for testing. They should be deployed at least 48 hours in advance of testing (not more than 7 days), as a final reminder of the testing date.
    2. If there is a concern about unethical occupants from covering illegal drains, sump pumps, etc. before the tests, a shorter notification period may be appropriate.

  5. Make sure work crews are well trained on how to handle homeowner concerns and smoke-in-house events.
    1. All work crews should have copies of the notification letter that was sent out, and also copies of the Smoke Safety Data Sheet to provide homeowners (only if specifically requested). Some homeowners may be concerned or upset about getting smoke in their home, and it is essential that your work crews have the right knowledge and attitude to address those concerns in an accurate and reassuring manner.
    2. It is important for the homeowner to understand that if they have smoke in their house your test has identified a dangerous plumbing fault that allows poisonous sewer gas to enter their home and it is very important for them to fix this issue as soon as possible. Your test has done them a big favor and your work crew is happy to help them identify the source of the problem in their home, if desired. It is important to stress that the smoke from the test is non-toxic and will disburse in a short time without leaving residue if the home is properly ventilated. However, the sewer gas is an on-going danger until they fix their plumbing fault.

On the Day of Testing

Contact all local emergency departments to ensure they are fully aware of exactly where you will be Smoke Testing that day.