In addition to causing significant property damage, mold can produce allergens and irritants that can cause health effects. SERVPRO Professionals understand mold and mold growth and have the training and equipment to remediate the mold in your home or business.
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Microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors, so removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air, and they may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water.
Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise the mold may return.
Let your nose lead the way. Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
Even higher than normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
Understanding The Mold Remediation Process
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate the “typical” process:
Step 1: Emergency Contact 856-686-0100
The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call our National Call Center. Our representative will ask a series of questions to help us determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel.
Step 2: Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
SERVPRO Professionals will carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view. They use various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.
Step 3: Mold Containment
They use various containment procedures to prevent the spread of mold. They may use advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All fans and heating and cooling systems will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold.
Step 4: Air Filtration
Their specialized filtration equipment allows their Professionals to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. They utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.
Step 5: Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. SERVPRO Professionals use antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to eliminate mold colonies and to help prevent new colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and carpeting, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.
Step 6: Cleaning Contents and Belongings
SERVPRO Professionals clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. They’re also trained to remove odors and deodorization using fogging equipment.
Step 7: Restoration
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, sub floors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
Besides causing a major business interruption, a mold problem can present a serious health risk for people exposed at your commercial property. Mold infestations can be caused by minor water intrusions, like a slow roof leak or loose plumbing fitting. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. If you suspect your property has a mold problem, call a SERVPRO Franchise Professional, who will respond quickly and work fast to manage the situation.
Mold can spread quickly through a property if left untreated. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can respond quickly, working to first contain the infestation to help prevent its spread to other parts of the building. Next, they will begin the remediation process, working safely and effectively to manage the situation. They have the training, experience, and equipment to contain the mold infestation and remediate it to preloss condition
Plugging a space heater into a power strip can be disastrous here's why
Plugging a space heater into a power strip can be disastrous here's why
As temperatures begin to dip across the country, millions of people are pulling space heaters out of storage to help warm their homes.
You should never plug a heater into a power strip,
These units are not designed to handle the high current flow needed for a space heater and can overheat or even catch fire due to the added energy flow.
Most people do not realize that power strips are not the same thing as surge protectors.
You should definitely not use an extension cord or power strip, which could easily overheat. And you really shouldn't plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater for safety reasons.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns against using extension cords or power strips with space heaters to reduce fire risks. The agency says that portable electric heaters cause 1,100 fires per year, resulting in about 50 deaths, dozens of injuries and millions of dollars in property loss.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 32 percent of home-heating fires involve space heaters, resulting in 79 percent of home-heating fire deaths in the United States.
Fire And Water Damage Restoration Companies, Have Standards
Fire And Water Damage Restoration Companies, Have Standards
Fire and water damage restoration are essential services that protect families and their homes from severe issues. Whether it’s bad wiring, a flood, or a burst pipe, these professionals are capable of making the home safe to live in again. But getting it back to that state takes some real expertise and manpower, and it’s the kind of expertise that a certified firm can provide the best. There are serious health implications involved as well, so a homeowner wouldn’t want anyone else handling the job.
Why should a homeowner only consider a certified firm for fire and water damage restoration?
Floods and flames produce an immediate threat, and of course families are going to be pressed by the imminent danger, but these disasters can cause long-term problems as well. Pools of contaminated water, like those left behind by a storm or sewage backflow, are infested with a variety of pathogens and are also catalysts for explosive microbial growth. Molds, in particular, are common organisms found in the wake of contaminated moisture, and can take root in the home in as little as 48 hours if the problem is not dealt with by then. Mold is a significant concern, especially for families with young children, as it can cause lingering respiratory and behavioral complications. Mold can also spread quickly if it is given the chance to release airborne spores.
Flames leave behind a different kind of pest. Ash is a copious byproduct of burned out material, and it is both light and acidic. This means it can easily be swept up by air currents in the home and settle on a variety of items it can damage. If it is not cleaned up right away, it will begin etching glass, corroding metal, and discoloring drywall and porcelain. Ash can also irritate the throat, nose and lungs, inflaming conditions like asthma and allergies. This will happen over a matter of days, so a prompt response is required to stop it in its tracks.
Fire and water damage restoration firms are qualified to halt and reverse the spread of molds, ash, and other hazards. Given the time-sensitive nature of their work, reputable crews are normally available around the clock and can begin work immediately. A certified firm, one that has been trained by an organization like the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), will have the tools and methods needed to make the home safe to live in again. With proper training, professionals will be able to quickly establish a workspace inside the home, drain the excess water, and eliminate debris caused by the disaster. Over the next several days, they can set up equipment to expedite the drying process, saving any materials they can that have been exposed to water, or wash away ash residue, which has a tendency to get everywhere. These professionals can also inspect the building thoroughly for common trouble areas and confirm that there is no lingering moisture or ash hiding in wait.
By the time a certified firm has completed their work, the building will be transformed back to its original state, waiting for the family to settle back in and continue their lives.
The strategies below will help you save energy, save money, and stay comfortable during the cold winter months. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through the winter.
If you haven't already, conduct an energy audit to find out where you can save the most, and consider making a larger investment for long-term energy savings.
Take Advantage of Heat from the Sun
Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
Cover Drafty Windows
Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.
Adjust the Temperature
When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A smart or programmable thermostat can make it easy to set back your temperature.
If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.
Find and Seal Leaks
Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently. Find other maintenance recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning appliances.
Reduce Heat Loss from the Fireplace
Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly--approximately 1 inch--and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
11 Tips to Protect and Prevent Pipes from Freezing
Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.
Pipes that freeze most frequently are:
Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.
How to Protect Pipes From Freezing
Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:
Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes.
Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
For smaller organizations, the plan does not need to be written and may be communicated orally if there are 10 or fewer employees. [29 CFR 1910.38(b)]
At a minimum, the plan must include but is not limited to the following elements [29 CFR 1910.38(c)]:
Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
Accounting for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
Rescue and Medical Duties for Employees Performing Them
Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted
Although they are not specifically required by OSHA, you may find it helpful to include the following in your plan:
A description of the alarm system to be used to notify employees (including disabled employees) to evacuate and/or take other actions. The alarms used for different actions should be distinctive and might include horn blasts, sirens, or even public address systems.
The site of an alternative communications center to be used in the event of a fire or explosion.
A secure on- or offsite location to store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, your employees' emergency contact lists, and other essential records.
A floor plan shows the possible evacuation routes in the building. It is color coded and uses arrows to indicate the designated exit. A room containing hazardous materials is indicated in the lower right hand corner of the building by the flame symbol. The assembly area is indicated outside the primary exit at the top of the building.
An evacuation floor plan with three exits, has the primary exit designated in the upper left by red arrows, with two main flows coming toward it indicated by bent arrows, the red rooms, and red elevator. Persons in the upper left half of the building are directed toward this exit.
The secondary exit is located centrally on the adjacent outer wall on the right side of the building. Persons in the top hallway and second hallway are directed with tan arrows from the tan colored rooms toward this exit. A male and female figure (representing restrooms) are indicated in the first tan colored rooms in the upper hallway. The individuals should exit along the hallway toward the secondary exit at the right side of the building. Both the primary and secondary exits are marked with handicapped signs.
There is a third exit in the last hallway, centrally located in the outer wall opposite the outer wall with the primary exit and adjacent to the outer wall with the secondary exit. Persons in the third hallway are directed by blue arrows from the blue colored rooms and blue elevator to exit out this doorway. This exit is not designated for handicapped persons as stairs are indicated.
Colored boxes indicate a row of rooms along the outer walls, with hallways parallel to the rows of outer rooms on three sides of the building. The outer wall on the left side of the building has a hallway along the outer wall. Four sets of six colored rooms are along the internal corridors and there are three large rooms centrally located with internal hallways connecting the top and bottom of the building.
The Primary Exit is marked with an arrow from the text below the map, as is the Secondary Exit. An X inscribed in a circle marks the position of the employee, indicated in the legend, in text "You are here". On the floor plan, the employee is located in the upper left hand corner in the internal set of six red colored rooms, in the central room in the second hallway. The employee may exit the red colored room, either to the left or right (indicated by red arrows), and then proceed toward the outer wall and the upper left primary exit.
Crime Scene cleaning, Victim Benefits and Compensation
Crime scene cleanup is a term applied to cleanup of blood, bodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). It is also referred to as biohazard remediation, because crime scenes are only a portion of the situations in which biohazard cleaning is needed. Such incidents may include accidents, suicides, homicides, and decomposition after unattended death. It could also include mass trauma, industrial accidents, infectious disease contamination, animal biohazards (e.g. feces or blood) or regulated waste transport, treatment, and disposal.
Attached are Compensation and Benefits for Victims in NJ:
Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home
A recent fire at a 16,000 square foot mansion on the waterfront in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, took the lives of six people including two grandparents and their four grandchildren. The cause of the fire, according to investigators, was a 16-foot tall Christmas tree that the owners left lit most of the time in the great room of the house. An electrical failure ignited the two-month-old tree, which swiftly fueled the fire in the rest of the house.
The lack of a sprinkler system inside the house or fire hydrants and other water sources near the home made it extremely challenging for fire fighters who responded to the call.
Who doesn’t love the romantic glow of candlelight? But, even if you enjoy their fragrance and ambiance, you might want to think twice before lighting a candle and leaving the room. From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.
About one-third of these fires started in bedrooms, causing 39% of the associated deaths and 45% of the associated injuries. More than half of all candle fires start because of candles that were left too close to flammable items. They should always be kept at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.
3. Electrical & Lighting
Electrical fires can have a number of different origins. They can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, washer, dryer or other appliance.
According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.
4. Dryers and washing machines
Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).
Unlike other types of house fires, which occur more frequently in the winter months, those caused by lightning are more likely to happen in June, July and August in the late afternoon or early evening. From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.
6. Children playing with fire
The NFPA says that children start an average of 7,100 home fires per year, causing approximately $172 million in property damage. July is the most active month for these fires, and males start the majority (83%) of them. Younger children under the age of six are more likely to start fires inside, using matches or a lighter as the ignition source. The most frequent sites for fires are the bedroom (39%), kitchen (8%) and living room/family room/den (6%). Older children are more likely to start fires outside.
7. Christmas trees
Like candle fires, Christmas tree fires are more common during the holidays, with 43% occurring in December and 39% in January. The NFPA says an average of 230 fires are attributed to Christmas trees each year and they are more likely to be serious because of the factors that can contribute to the fire: a dry tree, electrical lights and a fuel supply (gifts) under the tree. Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.
The number one source of house fires is cooking – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove while you run away to do something for “just a minute.” The NFPA says that 40% of all house fires, or an average of 156,600 per year, start this way, causing approximately $853 million in property damage. Two-thirds of the fires started because the food or other materials caught fire.
Fires are more likely to start on a range (57%) as compared to the oven (16%), mainly due to frying. Most injuries occur when the cook tried to put out the fire.
Several years ago in Florida, investigators saw a pattern of fraudulent house fires that started in the kitchen when the owners left food cooking on the stove while they ran to the store for a missing ingredient. Grease would catch on fire and the flames spread from there.
Contact a Fire and Smoke damage Restoration contractor, for any Fire Damage and Smoke damage to your property.
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. More than 65,000 home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. These fire result in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.
Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.
Look for a sensor that shuts the heater off if it overheats. A switch that does the same if they tip over is a welcome plus for taller models, especially if kids and/or pets use the room, too.
Damaged power cords are one of the major causes of fires, injuries, and deaths associated with space heaters. Inspect electric space heater cords for damage regularly and never use an extension cord with an electric heater.
When you shop for an electric space heater, look for a label from a recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory), ETL (Intertek), or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) verifying that the heater's construction and performance meet voluntary U.S. safety standards.
Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:
Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.