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By Patricia L. Harman, Director of Standards and Communications for the Restoration Industry Association, and the Editor-in-Chief of Cleaning & Restoration magazine.

of important areas for cleaning and restorationprofessionals around the globe.

The Restoration Industry Association (RIA, formerly the Association of Specialists in Cleaning & Restoration) is the oldest and largest non-profit, professional trade association in the world. Dedicated to providing leadership and promoting best practices through advocacy, standards & professional development for the cleaning and restoration industry, RIA represents more than 20,000 professionals from approximately 1,200 member firms. Its members specialize in environmental issues and restoration following fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other perils. From the World Trade Centers and Pentagon following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and rebuilding New Orleans following Katrina, to cleaning up and restoring after the flooding in Australia and earthquakes in New Zealand, RIA members are on the front lines when it comes to restoration efforts worldwide.

RIA provides a number of education events to maximize networking opportunities and advance knowledge in the cleaning and restoration industry. Webinars, online courses, an annual convention and exhibition, and specialized events targeting specific topics such as contents restoration keep members at the forefront of an ever-changing industry.

One of RIA’s priorities is education and the organization administers three major certifications:

• Certified Restorer® (CR) – Is the premier certification in the restoration industry. It focuses on damage repair and raising committed restorers to a higher level of professional ability. Education and study

address both buildings and personal contents property, and are based on the structure and nature of materials, and the effects of various perils. Restoration theory addresses the mechanisms by which residue odors are removed. Toxic contamination, allergic response, water damage, contracts and insurance are also covered.

• Water Loss SpecialistSM (WLS) – This certification improves professional practice in the water loss mitigation field through the establishment of professional development goals, it identifies a body of knowledge and skills necessary to the practice of the water loss mitigation profession.

• Certified Mold ProfessionalSM (CMP) - The program's objective is to raise committed mold remediators to a higher level of professionalism. The CMP Certification emphasizes the interrelatedness of building systems and the predominance of situations where indoor environmental quality is impacted by multiple problems or contaminants.

A new area of focus for the association involves industry standards. RIA has partnered with the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization (IESO) to create a number of new standards addressing the areas of accounting, fire damage restoration, specialty rugs and assessing the impact of a fire in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Created by volunteer subcommittees, these standards provide guidance in a number

DAMAGE MANAGEMENT 66 | TOMORROW’S CLEANING | The future of our cleaning industry

RIA’s monthly, award-winning magazine, Cleaning & Restoration (C&R), has kept restoration professionals in the know for more than five decades. The magazine introduces new products, highlights unusual projects, covers indoor air quality issues, risk management, personnel, legal issues, business practices, marketing, flooring and rugs, and new technology.

NewsBreak is RIA’s weekly e-newsletter that covers many of the same topics as C&R, but in more timely and shorter bursts of information. It is free to anyone in the industry who wishes to subscribe (

Other member benefits include: discounts on vendor products and services such as equipment and supplies, and the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world. RIA has members in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, around the Pacific Rim, Sweden, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Canada and the U.S. One of the hallmarks of the association is the willingness of its members to share their knowledge with their colleagues.

Since it was founded in 1946, RIA has evolved from an association of rug cleaners to an organization of restoration professionals who have constantly expanded their knowledge and services to meet their clients’ needs. But the one thing that has not changed in more than 65 years is their desire to “make it better” for customers and employees alike.

RIA - what’s in it for you?

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