If you’re in the midst of a water, fire or smoke disaster, know that ServiceMaster 24/7 will be there when you call us. In the meantime, here are some ways to mitigate the damage yourself. What to do if you ever have water damage:
- If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
- Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
- Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe furniture dry.
- Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
- Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
- Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
- Open furniture drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.
- Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
- Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
- Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
- If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.
As of April 22, 2010 renovation, repair and painting contractors must:
- Be “RRP Certified”
- Use lead safe work practices when working in homes built before 1978
The RRP rule affects contractors, property managers and others who disturb known or presumed lead-based paint during renovation activities done for compensation. This includes most repair, remodeling and maintenance jobs, such as but not limited to, window replacement, weatherization and demolition. The rule applies to any work that disturbs painted surfaces in residential houses, apartments and child-occupied facilities such as schools and day-care centers built before 1978.
Fines for violating the RRP Rule requirements can be up to $37,500 per incident per day!! Learn more about the rule at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.
Health Precautions & Concerns
Bacteria & Mold Hazards Associated with Water Damage
Water damaged building interiors provide a “prime” environment for the growth and reproduction of bacteria and mold. Both are parasitic, i.e., they rely on dead or decaying organic matter for food. Favorite foods for bacteria and mold are cellulose based building material, such as wood, drywall and any soiled surface. Synthetic carpet fibers do not support microbial growth but the soils attached to them certainly do. These factors, coupled with warm humid air, create the ideal environment for reproduction. Bacteria and mold may cause allergic reactions, arthritis, puffy eyes, chronic cough, rheumatism, asthma, depression and headache. Water damage restoration must be performed by trained technicians who understand proper procedures and applications. Trained personnel will provide the necessary adjustments to the environment by altering temperature and humidity levels to deter production of bacterial and mold and setting up professional drying equipment to facilitate complete structural drying.
Breathing & Electrical Hazards Associated with Fire Damage
Structures that have been affected by fire may have strong, potentially toxic, odors. Never enter a smoking or smoldering area without the proper breathing equipment. Fires can also compromise electrical systems presenting serious electrical hazards. Do not attempt to unplug burned appliances or equipment unless you are certain that the power to the building has been shut-off. Failure to do so could result in electrical shock. Residual water from fire fighting will add to the damage as mentioned above, creating health concerns. There may be fallen debris containing sharp surfaces, in addition to slip or trip hazards. Emergency services may be necessary to stabilize the structure, make it safe for occupancy and restoration, and mitigate against further damage.
Federal, state and local regulations require owners and operators of non-residential buildings and structures to conduct asbestos surveys. You can rely on ServiceMaster Remediation to comply with federal, state and local EPA and OSHA regulations while performing work. For more information on regulations in your area, log on to www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/regioncontact.html.