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What Every Employer Should Know

10/16/2018 (Permalink)

Look for Signs of Mold

With all of this attention, you may think that mold infestation is something new or uncommon. It is not. Mold is present in all buildings in some form and quantity. However, certain species of mold spores, in large enough concentrations, can be toxic. Although the health problems of mold exposure are in debate, there is literature tying some health effects to mold exposure. People with immune-compromised systems may experience permanent health effects.Physical symptoms related to exposure to mold or sick building syndrome include eye, nose and throat irritation; respiratory complaints; skin irritation; nausea; dizziness and fatigue. Alert your human resources department and/or office manager to be aware of any such symptoms. If numerous employees complain, or if employees complain of moldy smells, put the building owner on notice and request an investigation. If you own the building, consider hiring an air quality investigator. Although these symptoms could result from other factors, it is important to address them.

Look For the Cause

Mold needs water or moisture and oxygen to grow. Water does not have to flow into the building for there to be enough moisture to promote the growth of mold. Although one-time leaks or burst water pipes may not be a problem if repaired, even a one-time leak, if not properly addressed, can cause unacceptable mold growth. There are a number of potential causes of moisture or water entry:

  • Lack of building maintenance
  • Poor building design or construction
  • Using wet building materials
  • Leaky pipes, windows, or doors
  • Regular, or even one-time flooding
  • Simple plumbing mistakes
  • Excessive humidity and condensation
  • Improper landscaping design or maintenance outside the building, causing water to flow toward the building
  • Any other serious water related problem
  • Address Moisture or Water Issues Promptly

If your building is experiencing water penetration, consistent moisture or leaks, demand that the landlord investigate the cause and promptly provide you with an action plan. If the landlord does not act, put it on notice that you intend to act and that you will hold it responsible for the costs. Give notice to your insurer. Do the same if you are the building owner.

Call in professionals to make an assessment. To stop further mold growth, the landlord or you must investigate and fix the source of the water or moisture. Ask for the help of contractors, the building designer and environmental experts to assess, identify and repair the source. A number of companies investigate mold and will come up with action plans to address it. Responding to mold involves more than just determining and fixing the source of the water. Often several experts must be retained, including experts in toxicology and epidemiology. Expert testing may cost thousands of dollars. If mold is found in large enough concentrations, the building must be cleaned and remediated to ensure the safety of the occupants before they return. Once the problem is fixed, ask the expert to certify that the building is "clean," or demand such a certification from the landlord.

https://www.ehstoday.com/mag/ehs_imp_36553 SERVPRO of North Arlington is here for all of your restoration needs

Above average storm activity in 2018

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

'Above-average' storm activity so far in 2018 hurricane season, expert says

The 2018 hurricane season has so far seen above-average storm activity and a near-normal number of major hurricanes, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Phillip Klotzbach.

Earlier in the season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's revised forecast issued Aug. 9 noted forecasters expected a "below-normal" season with up to 13 named storms for the entire season, at least four of were to be hurricanes. This hurricane season's first forecast -- issued April 5 -- called for a "slightly above-average" season.  

With approximately 45 days left in hurricane season, the Atlantic has already seen 14.

According to data collected by Klotzbach, the 14 named storms exceeds the 12.1 average for Atlantic storm activity in an entire season. This year has already seen about 82 named stormed days, whereas in years past, about 59 days is the average. There have also been seven hurricanes, surpassing the average five. 

Major hurricanes are ranking at about average; the Atlantic has seen two so far this year, whereas the average is recorded at 2.7. This season has seen five major hurricane days, with an average set at 6.2.Hurricane season extends through Nov. 30. 

https://www.nola.com/weather/index.ssf/2018/10/2018_hurricane_season_sees_abo.html

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Reduce flood damage to your home

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

While flooding can occur at any time of year, the spring is a particularly troublesome time of year as snow and ice melts and seasonal rains begin. IBHS suggests the following improvement projects to help protect property against potential flood damage. 

Flooding and flash flooding are a leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States, according to the National Weather Service. Floods are also the most common weather-related cause of property damage in the nation. During Hurricane Sandy, many property owners were caught off guard by the risk that flooding posed as the storm came ashore. This misunderstanding of their flood risk led to many deaths and injuries. Homes were washed away, and businesses were heavily damaged by flood waters. Ultimately, Sandy resulted in $6.7 billion in National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) payouts as of July 2013, second only to Hurricane Katrina’s $16.3 billion in payouts in August 2005, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Understand Your Flood Risk

Updated Flood Maps

A flood map (sometimes referred to as a floodplain map or FEMA flood map) can be used to identify floodplain location and flood zones. IBHS encourages residents to learn about the flooding risk of their properties and take steps to reduce that risk. The best place to start is by finding out what flood zone, from high to low risk, your property is in. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with each municipality to create and update flood maps that show the flood zone for each part of the community. You can look up your property on the local flood map by visiting FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center or contacting your city or county government. Your insurance agent or mortgage lender may also be able to assist.

Floods maps are redrawn by FEMA to reflect new information and recommendations. In fact, many communities are currently receiving new, more detailed flood maps as part of an ongoing flood map modernization effort by FEMA. Consult your city or county building department to determine if your local maps have been or will soon be updated. If an update has recently been completed or is ongoing, it is recommended that you review the maps to see if the redrawing has affected the flood zone for your property.

Additional information on looking up your property on flood maps and the meaning of the flood zone designations is available at FloodSmart.gov. It is important to note that there are many times when a building can experience flood damage—even if it is not located within a high-risk flood area on the flood map. Therefore, it is best to get an understanding of the flood zone of your entire surrounding area to fully understand your risk.

Know Your Base Flood Elevation

Once you know what flood zone your property is in, it is important to find out what the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is for your property. The BFE is the elevation at which your building has a one percent chance of flooding annually. You can find the BFE for your property listed on many flood maps, especially newer ones, or by contacting your local building department, or hiring a licensed surveyor. After identifying the BFE for your property, you need to determine whether the elevation of your building’s lowest floor is above or below the published BFE for your property. If your building is below the BFE for the area, you should consider elevating your structure to reduce the chances it will flood. IBHS recommends that buildings be at least 3 feet above the BFE to account for higher-than-expected flooding levels.

Flood Insurance

Once you know what your risk is, you also should consider purchasing flood insurance, especially if you find you are in, or near, a high-risk flood zone (Special Flood Hazard Area). Flood insurance is provided through the federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and can be purchased through private insurance agents and companies. If you have a federally backed mortgage, be aware that your lender may require you to purchase flood insurance if you are in or near a high-risk flood zone.

https://disastersafety.org/flood/reduce-flood-damage-to-homes/

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Hurricane Michael

10/11/2018 (Permalink)

Michael Treks Through Southeast After Leaving Florida Beach Towns in Ruins, Kills 2; Flooding Swamps North Carolina Towns

When Hurricane Michael made landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday, buildings along the coast were smashed to pieces, storm-surge flooding lapped at the eaves of beach houses and an Air Force base sustained extensive damage. Two people have died in the storm, which continued to zip across Georgia and the Carolinas Thursday morning.

One death was reported in the Panhandle. A Greensboro man was killed when a tree crashed on his home, according to Gadsden County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Anglie Hightower. In southern Georgia, an 11-year-old girl was killed when a carport hit her home in Seminole County. The county coroner later identified her as Sarah Radney.

In Florida, from Panama City through Mexico Beach — where the storm made landfall — and into Apalachicola, houses were swamped or blown apart, roofs were ripped off, boats sank and trees toppled in the high winds. Aerial images at Mexico Beach Thursday morning showed extreme damage, with homes swept completely off their foundations and destroyed and few properties left standing along the coast.

"Mexico Beach took the brunt," FEMA Administrator Brock Long said. "That’s probably ground zero."

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2018-10-11-hurricane-michael-damage-florida-georgia-alabama-carolina

SERVPRO of North Arlington is here for all of your restoration needs

11 jobs that go into overdrive when a natural disaster strikes

10/5/2018 (Permalink)

11 jobs that go into overdrive when a natural disaster strikes

With Hurricane Florence set to deliver a devastating blow to the Carolinas beginning late Thursday morning through the weekend, residents there are bracing for the worst. But while many homeowners are boarding up windows and stocking up on food and water, thousands of workers across a number of industries are in overdrive, helping to serve, protect, save, restore and relieve the communities that will be affected by the storm.

Tropical Storm Rosa

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Tropical Storm Rosa is about to make landfall and drench the arid Southwest

Deserts aren't supposed to get much rain, but Tropical Storm Rosa is flipping the script.

Rosa is expected make landfall Monday evening on Mexico's Baja California, CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said.The storm will douse Baja California with 3 to 6 inches of rain, with some spots getting up to 10 inches, the National Hurricane Center said.As it moves northeast Rosa will also dump 2 to 4 inches of rain on much of Arizona, with up to 6 inches in the Arizona mountains.  Historically, it's unusual for the US Southwest to get pummeled by a hurricane or tropical storm. But "these events have begun to increase in recent years," Norman said.Research indicates that global warming contributes to tropical storms getting "more intense, bigger and longer-lasting, thereby increasing their potential for damage," said Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.While there might not be a direct link between global warming and the recent increase of severe storms in the US Southwest, "it is possible that this could be a side effect of climate change," Norman said."Warmer oceans are allowing eastern Pacific storms to reach higher latitudes," he said. "This was not the case earlier. It was quite rare for an eastern Pacific storm to even reach Baja California, and this now becoming more common." https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/01/weather/tropical-storm-rosa-wxc/index.html SERVPRO of North Arlington is here for all of your restoration needs

Cleaning After Fire

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning After Fire

The October 2017 California Fires in Northern California were devastating. Northern California will be dealing with the death and destruction of recent wildfires for years.  The immediate life-safety concerns about fire are obvious and frightening, but what many don’t realize is that returning to fire damaged buildings is also hazardous. Cleaning after fire is part of recovery, but done wrong this activity may do more harm. If you’re returning to a fire damaged community follow these fire restoration tips to reduce your health risks.

After you have dealt with the initial raw emotions of fire loss, after you have contacted your insurance company and relatives and emergency personnel that are worried about you, it is time to cleanup and rebuild. FEMA has a checklist for “returning to normal” after a fire. If hiring professionals is not in the budget or you want to get back home before the pros show up, read these tips for cleaning after a fire.

Immediate Threats When Cleaning After Fire

These basic measures may save your life when you return to cleanup after a fire.

  • Do not reenter a fire stricken area or building unless a professional has verified it is safe to enter. Fires may reappear and you don’t want to be stuck in the danger zone. Do not go around police/fire barricades or ignore evacuation orders.
  • Do not approach downed power lines or attempt to work around electrical wires.
  • If the structure has been significantly impact and there are any concerns about the structural integrity of the building, do not enter until an expert or structural engineer okays the building.
  • Do not enter areas with standing water. There may be hidden dangers in the water.
  • Hire a professional fire restoration company – if you can. Here is a checklist for hiring a contractor after a fire. Talk to your insurance first.

https://healthybuildingscience.com/2017/10/18/cleaning-after-fire/

SERVPRO of North Arlington is here 24/7 365 for al of your restoration needs

Tropical Storm Kirk reemerges, strengthens in Atlantic, forecasters say

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Tropical Storm Kirk, which lost strength and had dissipated earlier this week as it crossed the tropical Atlantic, has strengthened and reemerged Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. Forecasters say little additional change in strength is expected through Thursday and is expected to weaken as it crosses over the eastern Caribbean Sea.

According to the NHC's 5  p.m. EDT advisory, Kirk was located about 260 miles east of Barbados and about 380 miles east-southeast of Martinique, moving west-northwest at about 18 mph. The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph with tropical storm-force winds reaching outward up to 115 miles from the center.

NHC's forecast says the center of Kirk will move over the Lesser Antilles by Thursday afternoon.

In the Pacific coast, weather officials are monitoring Hurricane Rosa. Forecasters said it is expected to strengthen but doesn't pose an immediate threat to land.

Tropical storm warning

  • The NHC announced a tropical storm warning for Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique and Guadeloupe with tropical storm conditions that may happen within the next 36 hours.

Tropical storm watch

  • NHC said a tropical storm watch is in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines -- with tropical storm conditions appearing within the next 36 hours.

Possible rain fall

  • NHC says Kirk can produce total rainfall of 4 to 6 inches across the northern Windward and southern Leeward Islands -- with isolated maximum totals up to 10 inches across Martinique and Dominica. They warn of life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Latest forecast track

  • The NHC released an image showing Kirk's forecasted movement through the next couple of days

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tropical-storm-kirk-strengthens-atlantic-national-hurricane-center-latest-forecast-path-track-today-2018-09-26/

SERVPRO of North Arlington is here 24/7 365 for all of your restoration needs

Effects of Flooding

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Effects of flooding

Floods can have devastating consequences and can have effects on the economy, environment and people.

Economic
During floods (especially flash floods), roads, bridges, farms, houses and automobiles are destroyed. People become homeless. Additionally, the government deploys firemen, police and other emergency apparatuses to help the affected. All these come at a heavy cost to people and the government. It usually takes years for affected communities to be re-built and business to come back to normalcy. 
Did you know that the cost of all floodings in the USA in 2011 was $8,640,031,956 (approx 8.5B USD) — http://www.nws.noaa.gov/hic/

Environment
The environment also suffers when floods happen. Chemicals and other hazardous substances end up in the water and eventually contaminate the water bodies that floods end up in. In 2011, a huge tsunami hit Japan, and sea water flooded a part of the coastline. The flooding caused massive leakage in nuclear plants and has since caused high radiation in that area. Authorities in Japan fear that Fukushima radiation levels are 18 times higher than even thought.

Additionally, flooding causes kills animals, and others insects are introduced to affected areas, distorting the natural balance of the ecosystem.

People and animals
Many people and animals have died in flash floods. Many more are injured and others made homeless. Water supply and electricity are disrupted and people struggle and suffer as a result. In addition to this, flooding brings a lot of diseases and infections including military fever, pneumonic plague, dermatopathia and dysentery. Sometimes insects and snakes make their ways to the area and cause a lot of havoc.

...But... 
There is also something good about floods, especially those that occur in floodplains and farm fields. Floodwaters carry lots of nutrients that are deposited in the plains. Farmers love such soils, as they are perfect for cultivating some kinds of crops.

http://eschooltoday.com/natural-disasters/floods/effects-of-flooding.html

SERVPRO of North Arlington is here for all of your restoration needs

Common Mold Types

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Molds (also spelled “moulds”) are simple, microscopic organisms that can grow virtually anywhere, both inside buildings and outdoors. Mold colonies can grow inside damp or wet building structures. And mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust.

Health effects from exposure to mold can vary greatly depending on the person and the amount and type of mold present.

Regardless of the type of mold, it should be treated as potentially a health hazard and should be removed from homes and workplaces.

Common Mold Types Found in Homes and Their Hazard Classes

Hazard Classes of Indoor Mold

In some countries indoor fungi have been grouped into 3 hazard classes based on associated health risk. These classes are similar to risk groups assigned to microorganisms handled in laboratory environments.

  • Hazard Class A: includes fungi or their metabolic products that are highly hazardous    to health. These fungi or metabolites should not be present in occupied dwellings. Presence of these fungi in occupied buildings requires immediate attention.
  • Hazard class B: includes those fungi which may cause allergic reactions to occupants if present indoors over a long period.
  • Hazard Class C: includes fungi not known to be a hazard to health. Growth of these fungi indoors, however, may cause economic damage and therefore should not be allowed.

Molds commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms

  • Cladosporium cladosporioides (hazard class B)
  • Cladosporium sphaerospermum (hazard class C)
  • Ulocladium botrytis (hazard class C)
  • Chaetomium globosum (hazard class C)
  • Aspergillus fumigatus (hazard class A)

Molds commonly found on wallpapers

  • Cladosporium sphaerospermum
  • Chaetomium spp., particularly Chaetomium globosum
  • Doratomyces spp (no information on hazard classification)
  • Fusarium spp (hazard class A)
  • Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly called ‘black mold‘ (hazard class A)
  • Trichoderma spp (hazard class B)
  • Scopulariopsis spp (hazard class B)

Molds commonly found on mattresses and carpets

  • Penicillium spp., especially Penicillium chrysogenum (hazard class B) and Penicillium aurantiogriseum (hazard class B)
  • Aspergillus versicolor (hazard class A)
  • Aureobasidium pullulans (hazard class B)
  • Aspergillus repens (no information on hazard classification)
  • Wallemia sebi (hazard class C)
  • Chaetomium spp., particularly Chaetomium globosum
  • Scopulariopsis spp.

Molds commonly found on window frames

  • Aureobasidium pullulans
  • Cladosporium sphaerospermum
  • Ulocladium spp.

Molds commonly found in basement (cellars)

  • Aspergillus versicolor
  • Aspergillus fumigatus
  • Fusarium spp.

Molds commonly found in flower pot soil

  • Aspergillus fumigatus
  • Aspergillus niger (hazard class A)
  • Aspergillus flavus (hazard class A)

https://www.moldbacteria.com/mold-types.html

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