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Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings Guide

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings Guide

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. This document presents guidelines for the remediation/cleanup of mold and moisture problems in schools and commercial buildings; these guidelines include measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and remediators. It has been designed primarily for:

  • Building managers
  • Custodians
  • Others who are responsible for commercial building and school maintenance

It should serve as a reference for potential mold and moisture remediators. Using this document, individuals with little or no experience with mold remediation should be able to make a reasonable judgment as to whether the situation can be handled in-house. It will help those in charge of maintenance to evaluate an in-house remediation plan or a remediation plan submitted by an outside contractor1. Contractors and other professionals who respond to mold and moisture situations in commercial buildings and schools may also want to refer to these guidelines.

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on.

Many types of molds exist. 

All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed, but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to moisture buildup. Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include:

  • Roof leaks
  • Landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building
  • Unvented combustion appliances
  • Delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings

Moisture problems in portable classrooms and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems.

When mold growth occurs in buildings, adverse health problems may be reported by some building occupants, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems. Remediators should avoid exposing themselves and others to mold-laden dusts as they conduct their cleanup activities. Caution should be used to prevent mold and mold spores from being dispersed throughout the air where they can be inhaled by building occupants


12/11/2018 (Permalink)


Pretty lights, candles and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season— however, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening. The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or business this holiday season.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Make sure light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed. n Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

 Your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

DID YOU KNOW? The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.

Helping the Children’s Aid Society

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Helping the Children’s Aid Society

Located in Southern, MD since 1934, the Children’s Aid Society has been a beacon for local families who need help improving their quality of life. This non-profit holds many events to give to their community and SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill proudly supports them. Every year, SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill helps with the Children’s Aid Society’s Back to School event, and their Christmas Toy Connection.

The Back to School event provides school supplies for families who would not be able to normally afford it. With the proper school supplies, the children can succeed in their academic year! SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill provides a numerous number of items to ensure the Back to School event goes smoothly. Some of those items are backpacks and lunch boxes, packs of paper, pencils and pens, etc.

The Christmas Toy Connection is one of the biggest programs of the year for Children’s Aid Society. Working with the Charles County Department of Social Services, the program assists over 2,000 children by providing them with Christmas toys and gifts. SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill helps aid this program in two ways. One way is by dropping off the Children’s Aid Society’s toy collection boxes to local business and retrieving them at a later date. The second way is by SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill’s toy donation. This donation is one of the largest campaigns we donate to by buying a large number of toys and gift to be given out.

SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill is proud to help serve an amazing organization as the Children’s Aid Society!

Why SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill

12/5/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill

There is no disaster that hits home quite like a disaster to your property, home, or business. When you have suffered a fire, water, or mold damage, you don’t have time to waste searching for a company to fix your property.

When disaster strikes, depend on SERVPRO® and our network of over 1,700 Franchises in North America. Whether the job is big or small, SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill Professionals will be there to help make it “Like it never even happened” so you can get back to your home or business and on with your life.

On our website, you will find information on the mold mitigation and remediation process and what may take place if you are dealing with a mold loss. There’s also information on services you may never think you’ll need: biohazard, crime scene, and vandalism cleanup.

It’s good to know SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill is here if you ever need us. If you’re in need of cleanup and restoration services, call SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill today @ 301-292-4447.

2019 Winter Storm Predictions are in!

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

2019 Winter Storm predictions are in!

Farmers' Almanac is predicting that this winter is going to suck.

In its prediction for the 2019 winter season, Farmers' Almanac is expecting “teeth-chattering” cold across the country. And not only will the cold be colder than usual, according to the forecast, it’s going to last longer.

“Our time-tested, long-range formula is pointing toward a very long, cold, and snow-filled winter,” editor Peter Geiger said in a statement. “We stand by our forecast and formula, which accurately predicted the many storms last winter, as well as this summer’s steamy, hot conditions.”

“From the Continental Divide east through the Appalachians,” Americans should invest in a good winter coat for this winter season, according to Farmers ‘Almanac.

The Great Lakes, Midwest and central and northern New England are expected to experience heavier-than-normal snowfall. Skiers in those areas should plan to hit the slopes in January and February, when the heaviest snowfall is expected.

Those who are looking to escape the cold should plan their warm-weather vacations for the middle of February, when Farmers' Almanac predicts temperatures will be their most brutal. The cold is expected to last through the end of March. But winter could linger until April.

However, Farmers' Almanac's predictions are directly in opposition to those from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released last month. The NOAA predicted a warmer-than-average winter across the country, but did concede that heavy precipitation (either snow or rain) was likely to fall in the later half of the season.

No matter which prediction you believe, winter weather is always a great excuse to book a trip somewhere nice.

Why IICRC is so important to SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Why IICRC is so important to SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill

Most people are unaware of what IICRC is, and that is normal. I didn’t know what IICRC was until I took my first class.

IICRC, Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, is a certification and standard setting non-profit for the cleaning and restoration industry. IICRC was founded in 1972 and have evolved to a global organization. IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the industry standards and reference guide for professional cleaning and restoration. Every five years the standards are reviewed and updated. This industry changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science so the standards must also evolve.

IICRC Certified firms are held to a higher standard ensure their certifications are in good standing. IICRC firms must present accurate information to consumer and conduct business with honest and integrity. They also require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained, and passed, all required testing. Certified firms are required to participate in continuing education programs to keep technicians up to date on the latest changes. We must maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident. We must also maintain a written complaint policy and agree to BBB or similar arbitration to resolve disputes and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

Here at SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill we take pride in our team being certified through IICRC. We even certify office staff because the knowledge gained through IICRC certifications is extremely useful in day to day operations. We believe that investing in our team is how we produce the best levels of customer service.

Helping Those Who Help Others

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Helping Those Who Help Others

“We are not put on this earth for ourselves but are placed here for each other. If you are always there for others, then in time of need, someone will always be there for you.” This is a quote by Jeff Warner that fully captures one of our beliefs. When SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill sees an organization that is doing all they can to help the community, we love to help them in any way.

The Arnold House is a nonprofit organization that aids families in the Southern Maryland area providing them with food and items that they need to help them daily. One of the many ways SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill helps the community is by donating to The Arnold House. Every year we help with their three major events; Back to School, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

With Back to School, numerous school supplies are given ranging from backpacks to pencils. Additionally, we donate items that can be used for school lunches. The Arnold House is ONE of the various locations throughout the area that does the summer lunch program. This is where children can come and get a free lunch during the summer. No child should be worried about their next meal but unfortunately that is not always the case, so we gladly step up and help!

For Thanksgiving and Christmas, holiday food is donated to make sure the families in Southern Maryland can have bountiful meals. Here at SERVPRO® we have even helped with making and distributing the packages the families in need and it was the best day ever!

Our owner and our staff are overjoyed to be able to partner with such a wonderful organization such as The Arnold House!

Water Damage and Your Policyholder or Property Owner

11/15/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage and Your Policyholder or Property Owner

When they have water damage, your policyholder or property owner looks to you to handle the situation. You collect information and provide reassurance everything will be returned to normal. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals understand your priority is helping restore the property and the insured’s or owner’s peace of mind, while minimizing the loss on a claim.

The first 24 hours following a water incident are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled properly by completing the following steps.


SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will inspect affected areas of the property to determine the extent of damage. They will also review the inspection with you, your insured, or property manager and answer any questions before beginning work.


Next, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will take immediate steps to protect the home or property and personal belongings from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing for drying. They will explain in detail the needed emergency services step-by-step.


To help ensure your insured’s or owners home and personal belongings, or property are dried to appropriate industry standards, a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will monitor the drying process. The results will be consistently communicated to you throughout the monitoring process.


SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will replace structural materials such as drywall and baseboards, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of the property and belongings. A final walk-through of the jobsite will be conducted with you, your insured, or owner to help ensure their property was returned to preloss condition when possible.

Don’t Let A Kitchen Fire Invite Itself to Your Holiday Party

11/14/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that cooking fires are the number 1 cause of house fires in the United States? During the Holiday season, many things can go astray during the excitement and flurry of commotion. The last thing you want, is a kitchen fire to erupt. Are you prepared on how to prevent or stop a kitchen fire in case it happens? If not, do not worry! Here are some tips to keep you safe during the holiday season.

Don’t Overload the Electrical Outlets

Electrical fires are twice as deadly as other home fires. Preventing overcrowding in the circuits are the way to go! If you don’t have enough outlets to avoid plugging in two crockpots full of holiday goodness into the same outlet, then a surge protector is one of the best holiday gifts you can give yourself!

Additionally, never use any electrical device where there is a potential for the device to get wet. If there is an electrical issue, AVOID WATER.  Unplug the device if it is safe enough to do so with a towel, turn the circuit breaker off, and tend to the fire if it is possible. You never want to put your family at risk, so if the fire is too out of control, evacuate the household quickly and contact your local fire department.

Decorations, Decorations, Decorations

Who doesn’t go full out when decorating for holidays? Candles, decorative towels, bows, and so much more dress our entire house. Why could that be an issue if the decorations are not placed safely? The issue is that in November and December, 20 percent of house fires are due to decorations being too close to an open flame or heat. Decorations are fun for holidays when you can take them down at the end of the year, not when you have to rebuild and decoration an entire kitchen after a fire!

Gas Leak

When temperatures drop, and kitchens are busy cooking holiday feasts, a household gas consumption increases. This is when you need to be aware of the smells in your home or any hissing noises. The smell of rotten eggs is a sign of a dangerous gas leak and needs to be taken seriously. Hissing noises could mean that your stove could have a breach in its connection but DO NOT pull the stove away to check. You could further the disconnection and create a larger leak. Do not turn on lights of use your phone due to the potential of a fire to spark. Instead, evacuate, turn off the gas to your home, and call 911.

Don’t Let Fun Time Take Away From Safety

Grease fires can start in a second, don’t let old family stories cause you to leave the kitchen unattended with food cooking. When a fire starts, especially from grease, you want to put that fire out before it damages your home or your family.

Water is not your friend when grease fires are involved. Pouring water on a grease fire will cause the flame to intensify and become a larger fire. Baking soda and salt are the best things to put out that kind of flame!

In Conclusion

Holidays are very fun, yet very dangerous if you are not taking safety into consideration. Make sure to have functioning smoke detectors and a fire hydrant easily accessible in your home and take a moment to learn and prepare how to handle a kitchen fire if it happens. The only fire you want in your home, is the one in your fireplace when you are roasting chestnuts. Happy Holidays!

Indoor Air Quality

11/1/2018 (Permalink)

Why the indoor air quality of dialysis centers and hospitals can’t be neglected.

Indoor air quality is a major concern for dialysis centers and hospitals around the country. Dialysis and medical centers are especially vulnerable to mold, which compromises the integrity of air quality. But what makes dialysis centers and hospitals so prone to mold growth, and what does that mean for indoor air quality?

If you help operate a dialysis center or a hospital, you can’t afford to overlook the threat that mold poses for your air quality. Here are some of the reasons why your center is vulnerable to mold and why it matters:

  • Vulnerability:There are quite a few reasons why dialysis centers and hospitals are prone to mold infestations…
    • Dialysis centers: Dialysis centers can harbor multiple mold infestations if they are not properly maintained. Since dialysis centers use reverse osmosis water therapy, moisture is an integral part of the daily practice of dialysis centers. And, since mold only needs moisture in order to thrive, improperly maintained dialysis centers can be breeding grounds for mold.
    • Hospitals and medical centers:There is plenty of moisture to go around in hospitals and medical centers, as well. Combine the prevalence of moisture with the combination of all sorts of bacteria and chemicals, and you have a recipe for mold infestation and, as a result, poor indoor air quality.
  • Health:Poor indoor air quality can be detrimental to health, especially for those going through the volatile process of recovery. Airborne mold can cause allergic reactions, such as sneezing, coughing, and bodily irritation. When people are trying to overcome an illness or recover from surgery, the air must be as clean as possible.
  • More mold:Indoor air quality problems can lead to serious mold infestations. If the air quality is not properly regulated, then mold can infest countless surfaces in the building. This unfortunate fact was recently highlighted in Pittsburgh, where two University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals have experienced serious and dangerous mold infestations. A review by the CDC indicates that the mold infestation was a result of poor air quality since dust and mold spores most likely entered the medical centers through the ventilation.

If you need our assistance, please call us @ (301) 292.4447.