AUSTIN (KXAN) – “Well, make sure you get plenty of rest tonight, because [Friday] going to be pretty busy,” JR Hernandez, plumbing manager at Radiant Plumbing and Air Conditioning, said on the phone to an employee when we spoke to him Thursday.
“Everyone on deck if need be,” he said.
During last February’s winter storm, the Austin Fire Department received 2,449 calls for broken plumbing.
Staffing difficulties have plagued the plumbing and repair industry for some time – a notion exacerbated by the pandemic as well as Uri.
Hernandez said his store has enough crews to handle the expected surge in calls this week.
“Our plumbers are ready. We have fully stocked vans,” he said.
But across Austin, Workforce Solutions Capital Area data shows an additional 3,000 commercial workers, including plumbers, are needed to keep up with demand.
Workforce Solutions, in collaboration with Local 286 and Skillpoint Alliance, launched an apprenticeship program to strengthen the plumbing workforce. About 400 people initially registered were hired in the field.
If you want to avoid having to call a plumber in the first place, Hernandez recommends a slow drip on your indoor faucets and covers your outdoor pipes.