AUSTIN (KXAN) — “Well, make sure you’re going to get a good night’s rest tonight, because [Friday] is 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 with him Thursday.
“All hands on deck if we have to,” he said.
During last February’s winter storm, the Austin Fire Department received 2,449 calls for plumbing breaks.
Staffing struggles have plagued the plumbing and repair industry for some time — a notion exacerbated by the pandemic as well as Uri.
Hernandez said his shop has enough crews to deal with the expected uptick in calls this week.
“Our plumbers are ready. We have fully stocked vans,” he said.
But across Austin, data from Workforce Solutions Capital Area shows 3,000 more trade workers, including plumbers, are needed to meet the demand.
Workforce Solutions, in conjunction with Local 286 and Skillpoint Alliance, launched an apprenticeship program to build the plumbing workforce back up. Around 400 people who originally enrolled got hired into the field.
If you want to prevent having to call a plumber in the first place, Hernandez recommends a slow drip on your indoor faucets and covers for your outdoor pipes.