“We Can’t Imagine”

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Rentokil Pest Control Colleague Travels to Haiti to Provide Pest Control Support

“We can’t imagine….” Those were some of the first words Ward Combs, Vice President of Business Development for Rentokil North American Pest Control (http://www.rentokil.com), used to describe the situation in Haiti. Ward recently visited the country as part of a National Pest Management Association (NPMA) delegation and was able to experience the devastation resulting from the January earthquake first hand.

“When you go someplace like Haiti, you realize how much we take for granted,” said Combs. “Everyday conveniences like running water and bathrooms are the exception in Haiti. There is so much damage – it will take years and years for the country and the Haitian people to get back on their feet.”

Combs was part of a three-day fact-finding mission in Haiti where he and other members of the delegation surveyed the pest conditions in hospitals and tent cities in Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas. The NPMA (http://www.npma.org) chose 10 US companies to assist in this important relief effort, including Rentokil. Presto-X, Ehrlich and Watch-All comprise the Rentokil family of brands in North America.

“The pest situation in these medical facilities and tent cities is unimaginable. To see disease-carrying pests in hospitals is especially disconcerting as the health conditions of patients are worsened by the presence of rodents, cockroaches and flies,” said Combs. “Treating the hospitals is of the utmost urgency and importance, and that is where our help will begin.”

Ward was in a Haitian operating room during a surgery and asked the doctor why a man with a large piece or cardboard was in the room. “He is here to keep the flies and insects off the patient during the procedure,” explained the doctor. Many buildings lack screens on doors and windows. The earthquake left large amounts of standing water, rubble that provides shelter for pests and many people crowded in parks without bathrooms, so the potential magnitude of a pest problem is enormous.

NPMA and members like Rentokil North America plan to work with the Haitian government, hospital administrators, and local pest control companies to treat medical facilities on a case-by-case basis as each is experiencing different challenges. NPMA will use its resources to minimize entry points for pests, purchase products designed to prevent pest infestations in buildings, and to train Haitian pest control workers so they can properly perform pest control operations.

“This is a huge undertaking,” explained Combs. “Our goal is not to provide the pest control services for them, but rather to train them to do it on their own. We’re starting with the hospitals, because they are crucial to the health of the Haitian people. Even if we can improve the situation in one hospital, it will be worth it.”

Despite the upheaval the Haitian people have experienced, Combs was in awe of their patience. “There’s such a gentleness and acceptance,” he said. “It’s sad to say, but I think part of it is that they don’t expect much. They didn’t have much before the earthquake. They’ve lost what little they had. There are thousands of people living in parks without facilities. They know how to fend for themselves.”

About Rentokil
Rentokil North America Pest Control currently employs 1,900 coworkers in 80 district offices and provides service in 33 states throughout the Mid Atlantic, South, Midwest, Southeast, Plains and Mountain states as well as Ontario Province, Canada. Rentokil is a division of Rentokil Initial, a global organization offering textiles and washroom services, pest control, City Link express parcels delivery, facilities services and indoor plantscaping. Rentokil Pest Control is the largest commercial pest control company in the world. In North America, the company provides commercial and residential pest control, bioremediation, bird control, vegetation management, deer repellent services and termite control through its Ehrlich (http://www.jcehrlich.com), Presto-X (http://www.prestox.com) and Watch All (http://www.watchall.com) family of brands.


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Kristin Golden Mancuso
Rentokil North America
610-372-9700 ext. 29919
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