Smoke Alarms, when to replace
Hard wired smoke detector
Your detectors are overdue for replacement, according to the National Fire Protection Association, which recommends that you replace detectors when they’re 10 years old. Top-rated security system experts we interviewed say that, over time, dust gathers inside smoke detectors, desensitizing the sensors. And even if a detector hasn’t reached the 10-year mark, replace it if it chirps after you’ve replaced the battery or if the alarm doesn’t sound when you perform the recommended monthly testing. Experts recommend replacing all connected detectors at the same time, even if some are working. Smoke detectors are an essential part of a fire-prevention strategy, so you should replace yours as soon as possible. In a 2014 report, the NFPA said three of every five home-fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or with none that worked.
You can replace hard-wired detectors yourself, if you can reach them and if you have sufficient skill to replace a light fixture. (Be sure to first turn off electricity at the breaker box.) Otherwise, you can hire an electrician or an alarm service company to do the job. The cost can vary widely, depending on where you live and on the type and number of units to be replaced, where they’re placed and the condition of the wires. Service providers we contacted charge a wide range of prices, from $35 to $40 per detector, plus a $50 for service charge, to $135 to $155 per detector.
Meanwhile, here are some NFPA safety tips:
- Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home, including the basement. (Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.)
- Interconnected smoke alarms – whether hardwired or wireless – are best because when one is activated, they all sound.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Simply press the test button to be sure the alarm works.
- Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn of flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn of smoldering fires. It’s best to use some of both types.
- A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Install wall-mounted alarms should no more than 12 inches from the ceiling to the top of the alarm.
- Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation. To reduce false alarms, keep alarms at least 10 feet from a stove.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows how to respond if they hear a smoke alarm.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
If your smoke alarm goes off, immediately leave your home, follow your emergency plan & call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378 to assist you assist you with the smoke cleanup.
Advertising with Drones!
Drone with camera attached
Drones offer a new perspective on real estate marketing, literally.When we think of drones many things come to mind. Whether it’s the military’s use of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) or the image of Amazon dropping packages at your door, drone technology is here to stay. And in a technology friendly business like real estate it only makes sense that UAV’s should play a pivotal role. If you’re already imagining the views of those luxury properties from on high, here are some of the possibilities and some of obstacles to incorporating drones into your marketing.
Cost: Radio controlled drones weighing 4.4-pound with four spinning propeller blades capable of carrying a video camera can run anywhere from $2,000 – $5,000.
Control: Navigating a drone takes considerable skill, so you’ll want to hire a pro to navigate it. You can expect to pay a licensed professional anywhere from $350 to $500. In the long run it’s more cost effective and much safer than doing it yourself.
Risks: No matter how skilled your professional pilot might be, there are still risks involved when it comes to using drones. Before you take off, you’ll want to be sure you have insurance in place in case of unforeseen property damage, as well as damage to the drone itself.
Be proactive: Be sure to notify local law enforcement and surrounding neighbors before you take to the sky.
Where to start: In late summer of 2016 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the use of drones for commercial use and removed a restriction that mandated a full FAA pilot’s license replacing it with $150 drone license. Check out the National Association of Realtors drone resource page for FAQ’s, timeline and political advocacy resources.
Drones, like other new technologies will continue to drop in price as demand increases. While it is true that drones will first be employed to highlight and promote luxury properties, they will no doubt become more main stream as costs come down. More than anything, a drone is an excellent differentiator, giving prospective buyers a bird’s eye view of the house, the property and the neighborhood.
If you have water or fire damage to your home, please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378 to assist you.
Early-season storms one indicator of active Atlantic hurricane season ahead
Satellite picture of a hurricane in the Atlantic
Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season, and they increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.
Forecasters now say there is a 60-percent chance of an above-normal season (compared to the May prediction of 45 percent chance), with 14-19 named storms (increased from the May predicted range of 11-17) and 2-5 major hurricanes (increased from the May predicted range of 2-4). A prediction for 5-9 hurricanes remains unchanged from the initial May outlook.
“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The wind and air patterns in the area of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop are very conducive to an above-normal season. This is in part because the chance of an El Nino forming, which tends to prevent storms from strengthening, has dropped significantly from May.”
Bell noted other factors that point to an above-normal season include warmer waters across the tropical Atlantic than models previously predicted and higher predicted activity from available models.
In just the first nine weeks of this season there have been six named storms, which is half the number of storms during an average six-month season and double the number of storms that would typically form by early August. An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1-November 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
“Today’s updated outlook underscores the need for everyone to know their true vulnerabilities to storms and storm surge,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “As we enter the height of hurricane season, it’s important for everyone to know who issues evacuation orders in their community, heed the warnings, update their insurance and have a preparedness plan.”
The updated outlook is based on the current and evolving atmospheric and oceanic conditions, the most recent model predictions, and pre-and early-season storm activity. The numbers announced today include the season activity to-date. The Atlantic basin has seen six named storms (Arlene in April; Bret and Cindy in June; Don and Emily in July; and Franklin in August). Two of these storms, Cindy and Emily, struck the United States. Cindy made landfall on June 22 at the Louisiana-Texas border and caused heavy rain, inland flooding and multiple tornado outbreaks. Emily made landfall on July 31 in Anna Maria Island, Florida. Franklin is predicted to make landfall in Mexico overnight as a hurricane.
Today’s update also decreases the chance of a near-normal season from 35 percent to 30 percent, and a below-normal season from 20 percent to only 10 percent from the initial outlook issued in May.
As we move into the peak of hurricane season, when hurricanes are most frequent and at their strongest, NOAA urges coastal residents to make sure they have their hurricane preparedness plans in place and to monitor the latest forecasts.
If you are affected by a hurricane, please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378
Ten tips to help prevent water damage to your home
A SERVPRO truck extracting water after a burst pipe.
- Disconnect hoses
Standing water in a hose may freeze back into the pipe. This may create an ice block that stops your water flow. The block may may burst your pipes and create damage to walls, floor and foundation.
- Clean gutters and downspouts
Clean your gutters at least twice a year to avoid blockage and ice dams. Standing water can cause damage to your gutters and roof, and unmanaged overflow may create puddles that could damage your foundation.
Don't forget to clean downspouts to ensure water can flow through, and secure downspouts so that they point away from the home.
- Maintain trees and vegetation
Thriving shrubs can be a beautiful thing — except when their roots wrap around your pipes and break them. That's why it's important to minimize landscaping near utility pipes or, if necessary, remove trees and shrubs that have become too big.
Interior Measures to Prevent Water Damage
- Know your water main
Know the location of your water main, and shut it off if you leave for an extended amount of time. If no water goes in to the house, chances are no faucet drips can wreak havoc on your home while you're away.
- Check appliances regularly
Check and maintain your home appliances regularly for leaks, according to manufacturer's directions.
- Investigate leaks right away and fix promptly
If you opt to ignore moisture damage or postpone making the necessary repairs, be prepared to experience mold, mildew, dry rot, or even structural damage to your home.
Keep in mind that homeowner's insurance provides coverage for damage that is sudden and accidental. Damage that results from lack of maintenance is not covered on a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
If it's too late and you're already dealing with a wet disaster, check out advice on how to minimize water damage in your home.
- Upgrade washing machine hoses
Old, brittle or leaky washing machine hoses are among the most frequent causes of water loss for homeowners. Replace yours regularly to avoid a mighty mess and expensive damage.
- Install water detection devices
A water detector is a small electronic device that sounds an alarm when its sensor comes in contact with moisture. Its main benefit is that it detects low moisture levels or slow leaks that often go unnoticed. Install it near water heaters, sump pumps, washing machines, dishwashers and toilets to prevent extensive damage and mold growth.
- Check your water pressure
If the water pressure to your home is set too high, pipes and hoses may fail under the pressure. Buy a water pressure gauge at a local hardware store, attach it to an outside faucet, and turn the faucet to full force. The gauge will give you a reading of the home’s water pressure.
Typical residential water systems are designed for water pressure of 40 to 70 psi. If your home’s water pressure exceeds 100 psi, install a pressure regulator (which is available at hardware stores as well.)
- Monitor your water bill
Sometimes, the only way you know that water is leaking is taking a closer look at your water bill. If your usage jumps significantly from one month to the next without explanation, put your "water detective hat" on. Is there a leak in your crawlspace? Or, is it a pipe in your front yard? Don't leave mystery leaks unattended!
If you have had water damage to your home please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378
The top ten causes of household fires.
Fires can be prevented if you use common sense.
A house can easily catch fire from the misuse of appliances to smoking in bedrooms. You can take measures to avoid fire in your home and ensure the safety of your family. Below are some of the most common causes of household fires, and some tips to take precautions.
- Cooking Equipment
Pots and pans can overheat and cause a fire very easily if the person cooking gets distracted and leaves cooking unattended. Always stay in the room, or ask someone to watch your food, when cooking on hotplates.
Keep portable heaters at least 5’ away from anything that could easily catch fire such as furniture, curtains, laundry, clothes and even you. If you have a furnace, get it inspected once a year to make sure it is working to safety standards.
- Smoking in bedrooms
Bedrooms are best to be kept off limits for smoking. A cigarette that is not put out properly can cause a flame, as the butt may stay alit for a few hours. It could burst into flames if it came into contact with flammable materials, such as furniture. Did you know that fires started in the bedroom or lounge make up 73% of all house fire fatalities?
- Electrical Equipment
An electrical appliance, such as a toaster can start a fire if it is faulty or has a frayed cord. A power point that is overloaded with double adapter plugs can cause a fire from an overuse of electricity. A power point extension cord can also be a fire hazard if not used appropriately. Double check the appliances and power points in your home.
Candles look and smell pretty, but if left unattended they can cause a room to easily burst into flames. Keep candles away from any obviously flammable items such as books and tissue boxes. Always blow a candle out before leaving a room. Did you know that in Perth last year 34 house fires started as a result of candles?²
- Curious Children
Kids can cause a fire out of curiosity, to see what would happen if they set fire to an object. Keep any matches or lighters out of reach of children, to avoid any curiosity turned disaster. Install a smoke alarm in your child’s room and practice a home escape plan with your children and family in case there was a fire. Inform your kids the importance of knowing their address knowing their address and if they needed to, call 911.
- Faulty Wiring
Homes with inadequate wiring can cause fires from electrical hazards. Some signs to see if you’ve bad wiring are: 1) Lights dim if you use another appliance; 2) For an appliance to work, you have to disconnect another; 3) Fuses blow or trip the circuit frequently. Have a licensed electrician come and inspect your house, or contact your landlord if you have any of the above occurrences.
Barbeques are great for an outdoor meal, but should always be used away from the home, tablecloths or any plants and tree branches. Keep BBQs regularly maintained and cleaned with soapy water and clean any removable parts. Check the gas bottle for any leaks before you use it each time.
- Flammable Liquids
If you have any flammable liquids in the home or garage such as petrol, kerosene or ethylated spirits, keep them away from heat sources and check the label before storing. Be careful when pouring these liquids.
Lamp shades and light fittings can build up heat if they are very close to light globes. Check around the house to make sure. Lamp bases can become a hazard if they are able to be knocked over easily, and so should be removed if they are. Check that down lights are insulated from wood paneling or ceiling timbers.
The above tips are a good guide to avoiding a fire in your home. If you do have a fire and need assistance with the cleanup, please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378
Deodorizing contents after a fire
SERVPRO constructed an ozone chamber to deodorize contents.
The contents of a house that have had a fire usually need to be deodorized to eliminate lingering odors. SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont uses an ozone machine to eliminate these odors. Ozone, (O3), sometimes called "activated oxygen", contains three atoms of oxygen rather than the two atoms we normally breathe. Ozone is the second most powerful sterilizer in the world and can be used to destroy bacteria, viruses and odors. Interestingly ozone occurs quite readily in nature, most often as a result of lightning strikes that occur during thunderstorms. In fact the "fresh, clean, spring rain" smells that we notice after a storm most often results from nature's creation of ozone. However, we are probably most familiar with ozone from reading about the "ozone layer" that circles the planet above the earth's atmosphere. Here ozone is created by the sun's ultra-violet rays. This serves to protect us from the ultra-violet radiation.
How does ozone work?
The third oxygen atom of ozone makes it extremely reactive. This atom readily attaches itself to other odor molecules. When contaminants such as odors, bacteria or viruses make contact with ozone, their chemical structure is changed to less odorous compounds. As more ozone attacks the remaining compounds, the odor is eventually destroyed. This process is called oxidation. Ozone essentially reverts back to oxygen after it is used. This makes it a very environmentally friendly oxidant.
If your home or business has had a fire, please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378 to assist you.
12 Habits of exceptional leaders
Below are 12 essential behaviors that exceptional leaders rely on every day. Give them a try and you can become a better leader today.
“Courage is the first virtue that makes all other virtues possible.” —Aristotle
People will wait to see if a leader is courageous before they’re willing to follow his or her lead. People need courage in their leaders. They need someone who can make difficult decisions and watch over the good of the group. They need a leader who will stay the course when things get tough. People are far more likely to show courage themselves when their leaders do the same.
For the courageous leader adversity is a welcome test. Like a blacksmith’s molding of a red-hot iron, adversity is a trial by fire that refines leaders and sharpens their game. Adversity emboldens courageous leaders and leaves them more committed to their strategic direction.
Leaders who lack courage simply toe the company line. They follow the safest path—the path of least resistance—because they’d rather cover their backside than lead.
- Effective Communication
“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” —Joseph Priestley
Communication is the real work of leadership. It’s a fundamental element of how leaders accomplish their goals each and every day. You simply can’t become a great leader until you are a great communicator.
Great communicators inspire people. They create a connection with their followers that is real, emotional, and personal, regardless of any physical distance between them. Great communicators forge this connection through an understanding of people and an ability to speak directly to their needs.
“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” —John Maxwell
Great leaders are generous. They share credit and offer enthusiastic praise. They’re as committed to their followers’ success as they are to their own. They want to inspire all of their employees to achieve their personal best – not just because it will make the team more successful, but because they care about each person as an individual.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” —C.S. Lewis
Great leaders are humble. They don’t allow their position of authority to make them feel that they are better than anyone else. As such, they don’t hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work when needed, and they won’t ask their followers to do anything they wouldn’t be willing to do themselves.
“It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself.” —Latin Proverb
Contrary to what Dilbert might have us believe, leaders’ gaps in self-awareness are rarely due to deceitful, Machiavellian motives, or severe character deficits. In most cases, leaders—like everyone else—view themselves in a more favorable light than other people do.
Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence, a skill that 90% of top performing leaders possess in abundance. Great leaders’ high self-awareness means they have a clear and accurate image not just of their leadership style, but also of their own strengths and weaknesses. They know where they shine and where they’re weak, and they have effective strategies for leaning into their strengths and compensating for their weaknesses.
- Adherence to the Golden Rule +1
“The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” —Jon Wolfgang von Goethe
The Golden Rule – treat others as you want to be treated – assumes that all people are the same. It assumes that, if you treat your followers the way you would want a leader to treat you, they’ll be happy. It ignores that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention.
Great leaders don’t treat people how they themselves want to be treated. Instead, they take the Golden Rule a step further and treat each person as he or she would like to be treated. Great leaders learn what makes people tick, recognize their needs in the moment, and adapt their leadership style accordingly.
“If you just work on stuff that you like and are passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” —Mark Zuckerberg
Passion and enthusiasm are contagious. So are boredom and apathy. No one wants to work for a boss that’s unexcited about his or her job, or even one who’s just going through the motions. Great leaders are passionate about what they do, and they strive to share that passion with everyone around them.
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” —Reverend Theodore Hesburgh
Great leaders know that having a clear vision isn’t enough. You have to make that vision come alive so that your followers can see it just as clearly as you do. Great leaders do that by telling stories and painting verbal pictures so that everyone can understand not just where they’re going, but what it will look and feel like when they get there. This inspires others to internalize the vision and make it their own.
“Just be who you are and speak from your guts and heart – it’s all a man has.” —Hubert Humphrey
Authenticity refers to being honest in all things – not just what you say and do, but who you are. When you’re authentic, your words and actions align with who you claim to be. Your followers shouldn’t be compelled to spend time trying to figure out if you have ulterior motives. Any time they spend doing so erodes their confidence in you and in their ability to execute.
Leaders who are authentic are transparent and forthcoming. They aren’t perfect, but they earn people’s respect by walking their talk.
“Management is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard and you kill it, not hard enough and it flies away.” —Tommy Lasorda
Great leaders make it clear that they welcome challenges, criticism, and viewpoints other than their own. They know that an environment where people are afraid to speak up, offer insight, and ask good questions is destined for failure. By ensuring that they are approachable, great leaders facilitate the flow of great ideas throughout the organization.
“The ancient Romans had a tradition: Whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: He stood under the arch.” —Michael Armstrong
Great leaders have their followers’ backs. They don’t try to shift blame, and they don’t avoid shame when they fail. They’re never afraid to say, “The buck stops here,” and they earn people’s trust by backing them up.
- Sense of Purpose
“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” —Ken Kesey
Whereas vision is a clear idea of where you’re going, a sense of purpose refers to an understanding of why you’re going there. People like to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Great leaders give people that feeling.
Bringing It All Together
Becoming a great leader doesn’t mean that you have to incorporate all of these traits at once. Focus on one or two at a time; each incremental improvement will make you more effective. It’s okay if you “act” some of these qualities at first. The more you practice, the more instinctive it will become, and the more you’ll internalize your new leadership style.
Lightning Science: Five Ways Lightning Strikes People
Lightning filling up the sky
A person struck directly by lightning becomes a part of the main lightning discharge channel. Most often, direct strikes occur to victims who are in open areas. Direct strikes are not as common as the other ways people are struck by lightning, but they are potentially the most deadly. In most direct strikes, a portion of the current moves along and just over the skin surface (called flashover) and a portion of the current moves through the body--usually through the cardiovascular and/or nervous systems. The heat produced when lightning moves over the skin can produce burns, but the current moving through the body is of greatest concern. While the ability to survive any lightning strike is related to immediate medical attention, the amount of current moving through the body is also a factor.
A side flash (also called a side splash) occurs when lightning strikes a taller object near the victim and a portion of the current jumps from taller object to the victim. In essence, the person acts as a “short circuit” for some of energy in the lightning discharge. Side flashes generally occur when the victim is within a foot or two of the object that is struck. Most often, side flash victims have taken shelter under a tree to avoid rain or hail.
When lightning strikes a tree or other object, much of the energy travels outward from the strike along the ground surface. This is known as the ground current. Anyone outside near a lightning strike is potentially a victim of ground current. In addition, ground current can travels in garage floors with conductive materials. Because the ground current affects a much larger area than the other causes of lightning casualties, the ground current causes the most lightning deaths and injuries. Ground current also kills many farm animals. Typically, the lightning enters the body at the contact point closest to the lightning strike, travels through the cardiovascular and/or nervous systems, and exits the body at the contact point farthest from the lightning. The greater the distance between contact points, the greater the potential for death or serious injury. Because large farm animals have a relatively large body-span, ground current from a nearby lightning strike is often fatal to livestock.
Lightning can travel long distances in wires or other metal surfaces. Metal does not attract lightning, but it provides a path for the lightning to follow. Most indoor lightning casualties and some outdoor casualties are due to conduction. Whether inside or outside, anyone in contact with anything connected to metal wires, plumbing, or metal surfaces that extend outside is at risk. This includes anything that plugs into an electrical outlet, water faucets and showers, corded phones, and windows and doors.
While not as common as the other types of lightning injuries, people caught in “streamers” are at risk of being killed or injured by lightning. Streamers develop as the downward-moving leader approaches the ground. Typically, only one of the streamers makes contact with the leader as it approaches the ground and provides the path for the bright return stroke; however, when the main channel discharges, so do all the other streamers in the area. If a person is part of one of these streamers, they could be killed or injured during the streamer discharge even though the lightning channel was not completed between the cloud and the upward streamer.
If you are a homeowner, property or facilities manager and you are affected by lightning please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617)864-7378 to assist you
10 places you may find bed bugs
Bed bugs flat shape enable them to crawl into tight spaces
You’ve heard all about bedbugs in hotels, but did you know they’re also hiding (and waiting to hitch a ride home with you) in these common public places? Bedbugs are smaller than a grain of rice, but visible to the naked eye. So be on the lookout, and check out the top 10 places to accidentally pick up bedbugs.
Crawling into bed with a good book has taken on a whole new meaning if you’re borrowing books from the public library system. Before you head home with a stash of bestsellers, check the pages and spines for bedbugs circulating from one reader’s home to the next.
From clothes to furniture, bedbugs are just waiting for moving day. In the summer of 2010, retail shops around Manhattan were closed for fumigation when bedbugs were found hiding out in the goods. Investigate any possible purchases for unusual stains and shake out clothing before bringing it into the house.
You may catch more than a matinee at your local Cineplex. With cushy, upholstered seats and plenty of human hosts, the movie theater is prime real estate for bedbugs looking for a meal. Limit the personal belongings you bring with you to avoid bringing home your own critter horror show.
Planes, Trains and Buses
All kinds of people take public transportation, and bedbugs ride for free on planes, trains and buses. Bedbugs are small and hard to detect, so it’s unlikely you’ll see the pests getting cozy in your seat. However, you can take precautions when you return home -- don’t place your bags on your bed, and closely inspect your belongings when you unpack.
Daycares, Schools and Colleges
Stuffed animals, cubbies and dorms are incubators for all things gross, and bedbugs are spreading along with the rest of the germs among students and roommates. Kids in daycare share their cots and beloved toys from home. College kids bring home their laundry and bedbugs. Check in with the school director or resident advisor for reports of a bedbug invasion.
Places of Worship
Is nothing sacred? Clearly not for bedbugs who have been known to congregate in the holiest of places including temples, churches and religious meeting halls. Know how to spot a bedbug, and don’t let your guard down, even when offering up a prayer and gathering with like-minded worshippers.
The newest agenda item for many businesses is battling bedbugs that are just as likely to nestle into the carpet or furniture in the boardroom as they are in a bedroom. With clients and packages coming and going, bedbugs may move into an office space traveling on backpacks, briefcases, boxes, business suits or casual Friday
The newest agenda item for many businesses is battling bedbugs that are just as likely to nestle into the carpet or furniture in the boardroom as they are in a bedroom. With clients and packages coming and going, bedbugs may move into an office space traveling on backpacks, briefcases, boxes, business suits or casual Friday clothing.
If you’re sorting and folding in shared spaces, there’s more to worry about than mixing your lights and darks, as bedbugs invade even the cleanest spots in town. Bedbug victims are often instructed to wash and dry infected clothing and personal belongings using extremely high heat. Avoid cross contamination in the Laundromat by keeping your dirty laundry to yourself, investigating tables and chairs, and using the hottest washing and drying temperatures possible.
Hospitals and Nursing Homes
Bedbugs don’t discriminate against the sick or the old, and to prove this point, hospitals around the country had to quarantine patient rooms and triage centers in late summer and fall 2010 to deal with bedbugs. You won’t likely have time to investigate beds and furniture if you get sick, but rest assured, bedbugs do not carry or spread disease.
Consignment, Thrift Shops and Yard Sales
Forgo the bargain-hunting and splurge on new goods to avoid bringing home bedbugs. If you just can’t pass up a sale, at least try to stay away from used mattresses, bed frames and headboards. You may save money, but professional treatment for a bedbug infestation can set you back thousands of dollars.
If you are a property or facilities manager, please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378 to assist you
Heavy mold growth on back of shetrock
Mildew and molds are fungi - simple microscopic organisms that thrive anywhere there is a moist environment. Molds are a necessary part of the environment; without them, leaves would not decay and aspects of soil enrichment could not take place. It is their ability to destroy organic materials, however, that makes mold a problem for people - in our homes and in our bodies.
Mildew (mold in early stage) and molds grow on wood products, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper, carpets, drywall, fabric, plants, foods, insulation, decaying leaves and other organic materials.
Mold growths, or colonies, can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours. They reproduce by spores - tiny, lightweight “seeds”- that travel through the air. Molds digest organic material, eventually destroying the material they grow on, and then spread to destroy adjacent organic material. In addition to the damage molds can cause in your home, they can also cause mild to severe health problems. See the HEALTH section to check for possible mold related health problems.
Mold and mildew will develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure. Even worse, it will continue to grow until steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture, and effectively deal with the mold problem.
Use the diagram on the facing page to assess the extent of mold in your home. We are all exposed to many kinds of mold both inside and outside the house. The exposure is greater in damp or wet conditions, especially when timely drying out do not have a chance to occur. Of the thousands of molds that exist, some are known allergens (aggravating or causing skin, eye, and respiratory problems), and a few molds produce harmful mycotoxins that can cause serious problems. But all molds, in the right conditions and high enough concentrations, are capable of adversely affecting human health.
Health issues caused by mold
The potential for health problems occurs when people inhale large quantities of the airborne mold spores. For some people, however, a relatively small number of mold spores can cause health problems. Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions, and the elderly are at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold.
Typical symptoms reported from mold exposure include:
Respiratory problems -wheezing, asthma attacks, etc
Nasal and sinus congestion or dry, hacking cough
Eye irritation - burning, watery, redness
Nose or throat irritation -sneezing fits, bloody noses
Skin irritations -rashes or hives
Nervous system -headaches, memory loss, mood changes
Aches and pains
The more serious health problems have been associated with the toxic black mold, Stachybotrys atra. The mold is greenish-black and slimy, resembling tar or black paint. Stachybotrys typically grows only on repeatedly wetted materials that contain cellulose - from paper to ceiling tiles, and any kind of wood. In most cases, this mold can be removed by a thorough cleaning with a 10% bleach solution. Severe mold infestations may require the assistance of a professional with experience in dealing with Stachybotrys.
There is no practical way for you to eliminate all of the molds and mold spores in the indoor environment. But there are many ways to help control moisture and mold growth in your home. Here is a partial list: Stop the water
- Fix leaks in pipes, and any damp areas around tubs and sinks, so that biological pollutants don’t have growing environments.
- Rebuild, or retrofit, with water-resistant building materials such as tiles, stone, deep-sealed concrete, galvanized or stainless steel hardware, indoor/ outdoor carpeting, waterproof wallboard, water-resistant glues, and so on.
- Prevent seepage of water from outdoors into your house. Rain water from gutters or the roof needs to drain away from the house. Ground around the house needs to slope away to keep basement and crawlspace dry.
- Cover dirt in crawlspaces with plastic to prevent moisture from coming from the ground. Ventilate the area as much as possible.
If you have a mold issue, please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378 to assist you.