More and more Americans are becoming infected with diseases spread by pests of public health importance. Between 2004 and 2016, disease cases from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas grew three-fold, and nine new germs spread by bites from these infected pests were discovered or introduced in the United States, according to a May 2018 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The pest management industry is part of the first line of defense against these pests of public health significance. The public is looking for pest management services that will help protect them from pests. QualityPro—the only recognized and accepted credentialing authority of the professional pest management industry—created a new suite of Public Health certifications to equip the 20,000 companies in our industry with the resources they need to build science-based, effective and commercially-viable services to control pests that threaten public health and well being. Through pest-focused training, the certification program will also ensure that the 140,000 service technicians who are out in the field each and every day have the demonstrated knowledge to perform those services with the highest standard of professionalism in mind. Having certified service gives consumers an easy way to choose who to hire when health is on the line.
To oversee the creation of the Public Health service certifications, QualityPro assembled a task force of representatives from the National Pest Management Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Mosquito Control Association, Entomological Society of America, National Environmental Health Association, a vector control district and five pest control companies. The task force spent the greater part of the past year working together to identify the pests and topics that will be covered in the credential, categorize them into certification areas and create the standards for the first two certifications targeting mosquitoes and rodents. Additional certifications for bed bugs, stinging and biting pests and wildlife will be rolled out in the coming years.
The new mosquito and rodent service certifications are now available to all QualityPro accredited companies. If a company is not already QualityPro accredited, it must first earn its national credentials to be eligible for these Public Health service certifications. Simply applying for QualityPro accreditation will gain a company access to valuable tools and resources to help prove its professionalism. These include sample hiring forms, model policies and fleet management resources. Interested companies can apply at NPMAQualityPro.org. After a company becomes QualityPro accredited, it can then apply to certify its mosquito and rodent services.
Once an application is received, QualityPro will work with the company to successfully complete the process of certifying its service. The process is simple:
1. The company must submit documentation that advises employees of the proper way to perform the service and educates customers on what to expect when the technician shows up at their doorstep. Accepted forms of documentation include a service protocol, customer education handouts and a scope of service.
2. After the documentation has been submitted electronically or by mail, accessors will review and score it. The company will either receive confirmation of acceptance or feedback to the documentation on how to come into compliance.
3. Concurrently, all employees who perform or sell the submitted service must pass two exams. The first is the core exam, which will test general knowledge about public health pests. The second exam will test more in-depth knowledge of the pest that the service targets.
4. Once all employees have passed the exams and the accessors have determined that the service is compliant, the company can advertise that it offers QualityPro Public Health certified service.
With the new Public Health service certifications come enhanced credibility, especially during a time when pests that pose an imminent threat to our health are thriving. By certifying their services, companies will instill confidence in their customers that the technician sent to treat their home is well qualified to provide a comprehensive service that will keep families safe from the dangers and diseases posed by pests.
QualityPro is calling on you to do your part in the fight against public health pests. Are you going to answer the call to become public health certified? Visit NPMAQualityPro.org to apply today.
By Allison Allen, BCE
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