Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sacramento International Airport shows the way to avoid the spread of disease

Homeless-help organizations, take heed! Cold-and-flu season is here! The Sacramento International Airport does things you all should think about doing to deter the spread of colds and flu.

Quoting from the airport news release, issued today:
"Maintaining a clean and healthy environment for our customers has always been a consideration," said G. Hardy Acree, Director of Airports. "Regular cleaning schedules in addition to hands free flush toilets, faucets, soap dispensers and towel dispensers have been the norm at Sacramento International Airport for years. We added hand sanitizer stations prior to flu season last year and have increased the number of the stations and adjusted the locations to ensure that they are readily accessible to our customers."
Let us now compare the above to what goes on at Loaves & Fishes and Union Gospel Mission:

Loaves & Fishes has a pair of bathrooms immediately before people walk through the piazza to the two lunchtime diningrooms. Both are always locked. While there are usually-pretty-dirty bathrooms in L&F's Friendship Park, the park is closed on weekends (and many other days). Other than a spicket without soap outside the park, there is nowhere to wash one's hands on days the park is closed.

I've never seen hand sanitizer at Loaves & Fishes. Dirty, if not filthy, hands are the norm for denizens of the facilty who eat lunch at tables where people are seated very close together.

Union Gospel Mission is not a lot better. Until "chapel call" the place to wash one's hands is a spicket at the side of the building. Often, but not always, there is a slip of soap.

After "chapel call," men's and women's bathrooms are available during the first half hour of the evening's hourlong sermon.

Lining up for the evening meal occurs immediately after chapel. It's not easy [and, I don't know; almost not possible, maybe] to use a bathroom after chapel and before the meal. Guests at the mission never know what will be served. Sometimes, it's finger foods like hotdogs or chicken burgers.

I've never seen the availability of hand sanitizer at the mission.

Both L&F and the mission should strive to do much better with respect to hands cleanliness. I know firsthand from sleeping in the mission's dorm, that many colds spread quickly among the guest population. [But, likely, that comes from airborne mists from sneezing and coughing in the tight dorm quarters.]

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