Mold: Don't Let It Grow
Mold Growth on Wall
From the Ordinary
Fungi and mold naturally occur in our environment. In fact, over 100,000 kinds of fungi have been identified. Yeast is a type of fungi used in preparing baked goods and other food products. The unique flavor of Blue Cheese is a result of mold, and edible mushrooms are a type of fungi. Lifesaving penicillin is also a product of mold (Penicillin-chrysogenum).
Even though some forms of mold can add value to our lives, other forms of mold can be harmful. Excessive amounts of mold, different types of mold, and/or exposure to mold may present health concerns for some people.
To The Unhealthy
Water intrusion events such as storm damage, plumbing leaks or equipment failures, and poor humidity control, in your home or business can result in mold growth. When these water intrusions are not addressed quickly the resulting damage can present increased risk of harmful mold growth. Some amount of mold spores are normally present in most environments. However, if the humidity and moisture levels in a water-damaged environment are not promptly returned to normal, mold spores may grow and multiply into mold colonies. Organic materials found inside a building, such as paper, fabric, drywall, wood, and insulation, provide food sources for mold to flourish. Excessive mold growth can lead to indoor environmental conditions that pose a health threat.
Health Concerns may arise with excessive mold growth indoors. These concerns will likely arise for people that are considered "at risk", which might include immune suppressed or compromised individuals, young children, the elderly, pregnant women, people with allergies or asthma. However, anyone can experience problems associated with exposure to mold. Possible health effects include: runny nose, sneezing, coughing, aggravation of asthma, sore throat or inflammation of the sinuses.
If there is an ongoing moisture problems in the building/home it is important to be alert for signs of mold growth:
- Presence of visible mold
- Strong musty odors
- Evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold
- Excessive humidity
Help is Here
Sometimes a qualified Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional will be required to inspect and test the building for mold growth and provide reports on the type of mold present. After, the reports are done our SERVPRO Technicians can start the mold mitigation process.
Managing Mold: Tips Before Help Arrives
Be Careful! without proper training or tools, you could be spreading mold throughout your home.
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What To Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC systems and fans
- Contact SERVPRO Bergen & Rockland County for mold remediation.
What Not To Do:
- Don't touch or disturb the mold
- Don't blow air across any surface with visible mold growth
- Don't attempt to dry the area yourself
- Don't spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold
About our Mold Remediation Services:
SERVPRO specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it's a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professional that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If you see mold, call SERVPRO today!
Fire Safety Tips
Fire Escape Plan
Follow these Fire Safety and Prevention Tips
Fire prevention should be your first concern. The next best thing is to make sure everyone in the household knows what to do if there is a fire in the home.
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and test them monthly.
- Know two ways out of every room in your home.
- Create a home fire escape plan, practice it at least twice a year.
- Identify a meeting place outside your home for your family or anyone who lives in the home.
- Don't Wait, Check the Date-Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
- Store matches and Lighters safely, mainly out of the reach of children. Also, make sure you store them in locations where combustion or exposure to flames might be an issue.
- Practice proper cooking safety. Don't leave cooking food unattended, have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, keep children and pets away from the kitchen while cooking.
- Be careful with all open flames, never leave them unattended.
- Generators should always be used outside the home. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when a generator is not working or vented properly.
The key is to reduce risks by practicing fire safety in your home, while there are no guarantees taking these steps will help prevent fires and keep your family safe.
Managing Mold: Take Pecautions
When there's a water intrusion event like a leaky roof or leaky water line, mold can quickly become a problem in you home or business. Mold can cause health issues and can also cause significant damage to your property. Our Technicians have the training,protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle any size mold problems at your property. Although every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, the general mitigation process remains the same, the following is a typical mold removal process.
Call SERVPRO A representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources and personnel needed. An independent Air Quality/Environmental Professional may be needed to do the initial mold testing.
Inspection and Damage Assessment Your property will be carefully inspected by SERVPRO for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view.
Mold Containment Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.
Air Filtration Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. We have powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.
Removing Mold and Mold Infested Materials The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the type of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.
Cleaning Contents and Belongings Restorable items such as furniture, decorative items, and curtains affected by mold can be cleaned. We use a variety of cleaning methods and techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. Technicians are trained to remove odors with specialized fogging equipment.
Restoration Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs or major reconstruction.
Our Professional Technicians have the training and equipment to mitigate mold in your home or business.
SERVPRO® HAS DRYING DOWN TO A SCIENCE
What is the Science of Drying? The Science of Drying or psychrometrics is a process that was created to establish guidelines, regulate techniques, and provide validation and documentation on the drying process. Our professional technicians are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages.
Why is it important? When it comes to water damage, there’s nothing more important than making sure the job is done right the first time. Our team will:
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in the wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
- Speed up Mother Nature by using professional grade drying equipment.
What does it mean to help Mother Nature? A wet building can dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. However, this only happens when in fact the air is actually drier. Unfortunately, secondary damage like mold may occur while the building is drying out. It's not only the equipment, but the technology SERVPRO uses as well to ensure your property is dry. SERVPRO has developed DryBook, a proprietary tool that provides real-time documentation and updates on the drying process and help ensure industry drying requirements are met. Bottom line we make a water damage event "Like it never even happened."
The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents
According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death. To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your home, clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup. Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest, or other potential obstacles
Severe Weather Safety
Severe weather can happen any time, and anywhere. According to NOAA.gov each year, we cope with an average of
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,300 tornadoes
- 2 land falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98% of all presidential declared disasters are weather related, and cause nearly $15 billion dollars in damage. Knowing your risk of severe weather events, taking action, and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist others during weather disasters.
Know Your Risk: The First step to becoming weather ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you work and live. Check the weather forecast regularly, learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio especially if you live in a heavily impacted weather area.
Take Action: Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important documents and valuables in a safe place.
Be An Example: Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers, family and friends via social media. Your story will inspire others to do the same.
Watch vs Warning: Do you know the difference?
Watch: Conditions are favorable for severe weather and it is possible. Remain alert for possible further warnings.
Warning: Severe weather has been spotted or indicated by radar. Take Cover!
When Water Damage Strikes
The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage to your home or business. To help ensure a water damage is handled correctly complete the following steps:
Inspection: SERVPRO Technicians will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning any work.
Emergency Service: Technicians will take steps to help protect your home of business, as well as personal belongings and other contents, from further damages by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. They will explain the needed emergency services to you step by step.
Monitoring: To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, a technician will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently be communicated to you.
Restoration Services: Are available upon request. We will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property. A final walk-through of the job-site will be conducted with you.
Emergency Water Damage Tips:
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping or blotting.
- Place aluminium foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents, and other sensitive valuables to a dry place.
- Don't enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Don't use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water *this could cause electrical shock and/or damage to the vacuum.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. Watch for a possible Ceiling collapse.
Plan Ahead: Build an Emergency Kit
Be Prepared at your home or business with an Emergency Kit. https://www.ready.gov/ suggests you have enough supplies to last for at least three days. Below are some suggested items to include in your kit.
- 3-day Supply of non-perishable food
- Water-One gallon per person per day
- First-aid kit
- Prescription Medication
- Sleeping bags and blankets
- Fire Extinguisher
- Hygiene products
- Extra Batteries
- Cell phone charger
- Change of clothes
- Matches in weatherproof container
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Whistle to signal for help
- Pet supplies
- Infant supplies
- Important documents in weatherproof container (insurance documents, bank records, IDs)
You can also keep a condensed Emergency Kit in your vehicle as well. For a more extensive kit go to ready.gov/
You Can Be Ruined, OR You Can Be READY!
With the Help of Technology
Technology can be a vital tool in preparing for emergencies or disasters. The following are tips to help you be ready and use technology in the event of an emergency disaster.
Store Information Online
There are many places to store information securely online. Services like Google Drive, and Dropbox offer a free way to store different types of files, from a Word document to images of important documents. Ready.gov suggests saving an electronic version of insurance policies, identification documents, medical records and information on your pets if neccessary.
Follow the News
Stay informed by following agencies such as FEMA, local news channels, and local government on Twitter for the most up-to-date information in a disaster situation. You can also alert responders if a rescue is needed through Twitter.
Mark Yourself Safe
The American Red Cross offers a Safe & Well Chick-in site to list yourself as safe or find family and friends in situations where communication is difficult to establish.
Facebook also has a feature called Safety Check that is activated after natural disasters or a crisis. You will receive a notification from Facebook if you're located in the affected area at that time.
Get in Touch
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in your phone and e-mail for communication with family, friends, business contacts and others whom you may need to contact before, during and after a disaster. SERVPRO has the READY Plan APP, download the APP and be READY for any fire, water or mold disaster.
Keep a portable charger in your car and home in case of an emergency. You may need to recharge this from time to time, but you can also buy solar-powered chargers as well.
Get an Emergency READY Profile
SERVPRO offers an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for free to help you prepare you, your property or your business for an emergency. By having an ERP done in advance you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely and cost effective mitigation. Call our office for more information regarding your ERP Profile for your property or business.
source: Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Issue 2