Commonly Asked Questions About Mold
Fact: There are thousands of different types of mold out there. Some are harmful while others aren't.
"What Does Mold Look Like?"
A lot of our customers want to know how to identify mold. First thing to know is that there is active and inactive mold. What does that mean? Well, active mold growth is either slimy or fuzzy. The color of mold is usually green, black, orange or purple. On the other hand, inactive mold is dry and powdery and may be white.
Early stages of mold can look like a fine web, whereas mold in full bloom looks bushy. Mold spores spread real easily, because they are carried by air currents, pets and people. Scary, huh?
“How can I Stop Mold from Spreading in my Home?”
The key is to WORK FAST.
We are at a disadvantage in the south because of our humid climate, but don’t let that hold you back! Mold cannot grow when the humidity and temperature is lowered. If there is a day when the humidity is low, open your windows. If not, use air conditioning and dehumidifiers (empty humidifiers often).
Another way to control mold from spreading is to isolate any moldy objects. Seal moldy trash in plastic bags and remove them immediately. Objects you can save should be dried or frozen ASAP because freezing inactivates mold.
Keep the area clean. Clean surfaces such as shelves and anywhere where valuables are kept. Use a disinfectant such as Lysol, and then use fans only after moldy objects are removed and all display and storage areas are clean.
"How Can I Save Moldy Possessions?"
It is possible to save your things that have been affected by mold.
Air dry them away from other objects. Spread out papers, stand books on end and fan the pages open. Use blotting materials like clean towels or absorbent paper between layers of cloth or paper. Increase air circulation with a fan, but don't aim the fan directly at the objects.
If you can't dry the objects quickly or you have a large quantity, you can freeze books, documents and small textiles until conditions are right to dry them. Do not freeze moldy photographs.
Clean the mold only after it is dry and inactive. Very gently wipe or brush away the mold residue. Work outdoors if possible and always wear protective clothing and a respirator.
Avoid harsh cleaning products and bleach; they can ruin objects. Never vacuum fragile items. Use a household vacuum cleaner outdoors, since the exhaust will spread mold spores.
Be sure display and storage areas are free of mold before you return any clean object to its proper place. Reinspect the objects from time to time for any new mold growth.
Valuable artifacts and photographs should be handled by our professionals here at SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia.
Thanksgiving Safety Tips
"What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"
Fire. We need to keep fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time. It is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.
Thanksgiving by the Numbers
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.
- In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
- Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Space Heater Tips
Space Heater Safety
Temperatures are starting to drop down here in Mississippi! No one likes to be cold, but there are safety precautions when trying to stay warm. Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home or work place in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly.
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.
Trust the Professionals! We are IICRC-Certified
Our professional technicians are trained and certified!
Water Damage Can Be Deceptive
Water penetrates into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.
More than just removing excess water, IICRC-certified restorers have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to preloss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other health issues can be prevented. If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.
All IICRC-certified professionals have the training and experience to identify moisture sources, evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected), contain damage, remove contamination and dry materials to ensure that mold will not return.
Outdoor Fall Cleaning Tips! Trust the Pros
SERVPRO has the facts!
The chill is in the air and the leaves are finally falling! Some of our customers wonder what they should do to prepare for the cooler weather. SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia always wants to help you out by giving you tips. We are here to help!
Here are some things you may want to add to your to do list for your fall cleaning!
- Check weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows.(Repair or replace as needed.)
- Check and clean the gutters.
(Do the downspouts, too.)
- Clean the patio furniture.(Then store away.)
- Drain and store garden hoses.
- Check the exterior paint.(Touch up as needed.)
- Drain the pool, if applicable.(Close it up for the year)
Some of these tips can help prevent future water damage as well, like cleaning your gutters and repair the weather stripping & caulk.
Why It's Important to Let The Pros Do It
SERVPRO is here to help!
After a Fire
A fire damage can be more involved than you may realize. Smoky residue saturates every opening because of the convection pattern that flames typically form during ignition. The soot constructs up in layers that may end up being solidified and tough to eliminate which is another reason to leave the cleaning to a specialist.
When the cleaning teams arrive, they promptly different salvageable items from charred debris, taking the things creating the strongest odors out for cleaning.
Following a fire, wall surface areas can be harmed by soot. Non-water based cleaners need to be used to remove soot from walls. These kinds of chemicals should be handled by a specialist due to the fumes and toxicity. Water-based cleaning items can cause spots to bleed into plaster walls, which is why a trained specialist should be left to deal with these chemicals.
"What could possibly happen if I do it myself?"
A professional restoration team reduces the after-effects a blaze can have on the health of those who return in. If a homeowner does not have the property restored by a professional, the results can be found later on down the line. To an untrained eye, they might believe the issue has been fixed. Homeowners who do it themselves may experience the remaining impacts of indoor air pollution for numerous months later on, which could also form an increased respiratory discomfort.
We are trained to help remove your belongings as well as cleaning and storing them until your property has been restored to its original condition. We want to save as much as possible.
"Like it never even happened."
Safe & Spooktacular Halloween!
Ok parents, it’s that time of year again! We want our customers to have a safe and spooktacular Halloween without any accidents. SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia wants to make sure our community has some tips to follow to be prepared no matter what!
- Flame Resistant/Fire Retardant Costumes.
Today, ready-made costumes are required to be made from nonflammable materials or treated with flame retardant. However, it is important to recognize that home-made costumes are not treated, and heightened precautions should be taken. Many household items, clothing, hats, wigs, and other accessories for costumes can be highly flammable. Be sure to consider the dangers when designing a costume for your child. Remember that long-flowing costumes are a risk for catching fire on candle-lit Jack O’ Lanterns and other decorations. Safety first! If your little ones will be trick or treating this year in the neighborhood, incorporate reflective strips into the costume, and make sure all trick or treaters have a flashlight so they are visible to traffic.
- Street Safety.
In addition to having costumes that are visible to traffic, it is imperative that children understand to cross streets only at corners and to obey all traffic signals and crosswalks. It is highly recommended, particularly after dark that all pedestrians make direct eye contact with drivers prior to walking across the street to help ensure a safe crossing.
- Stick With Houston Neighborhoods You Know.
While it may be tempting to trick or treat on the other side of town, it is wise to keep close to home on Halloween. Walk on the streets and paths you and your children know well, and where you recognize your neighbors.
- Follow Neighborhood Protocols.
Of course, everyone wants to get out there and collect their treats as soon as possible. Remember to trick or treat during accepted hours – typically 5:30 – 9:00, and only visit homes with front porch lights that are on. Additionally, respect homeowner’s properties by sticking to sidewalks and paths; stay off the grass whenever possible and don’t disrupt landscaping or personal items.
- The Great Candy Check.
Today, it is vital that prior to eating any of the treats that all of the candy is examined. Check to make sure all treats are sealed, and consume only store-bought treats provided by strangers. Look for any pinholes, resealed candies, or other causes for alarm.
- Decorations at Home.
If you are decorating your home for Halloween, use best fire safety protocols to ensure a safe holiday celebration. Remember that many decorations are inherently flammable (crepe paper, cardboard, sheets, etc.) and that they need to be kept away from any open flame candles, Jack O’ Lanterns, space heaters, or other sources of heat or flame. SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia is on call for any size disaster, but we’d prefer safe celebrations throughout Houston this year.
- Keep Pets Secured.
Halloween can be quite stressful for pets. The constant stream of people at the door, the eerie noises, and scary costumes can scare pets causing them to dart out the door. Sadly, there are also nefarious people that prey on pets during Halloween, and it is best to keep them safely secured in a room in your home during the festivities. If you have cats or dogs remember that they can easily knock over candles causing a fire in your home; make sure candles are out of the line of pets and children, and test all smoke detectors prior to trick or treating/party hours. Also, remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs and all candy and treats should be kept out of their reach.
We wish you a Happy Halloween!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
This month we wear pink! SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia supports the pink ribbon. We dedicated this blog to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Are you aware?
Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of detecting breast cancer early. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms, and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.
How can National Breast Cancer Awareness Month make a difference?
We can use this opportunity to spread the word about steps women can take to detect breast cancer early.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Ask doctors and nurses to speak to women about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer.
- Encourage women ages 40 to 49 to talk with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms.
- Organize an event to talk with women ages 50 to 74 in your community about getting mammograms every 2 years.
Fire Prevention Week
Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.
That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Have you contacted your local fire department? See how you can get involved with them and your community to prevent house fires. Sometimes they will have events or give out smoke detectors for your home. Don't think this could never happen to you because it easily could. We don't have control over everything in our homes! We understand that, and SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia is faster to any size disaster!
Call us if you have any questions or need our services (601) 823-1100
Hurricane Florence Cleanup and Restoration
Disaster Recovery Team Response
We are dispatching today! Hurricane Florence has caused some major flooding and wind destruction, and SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia is responding. In addition to the local Franchises that are located in the areas likely to be affected, SERVPRO has a national network of over 1,700 Franchises across the country and designated Disaster Recovery Teams ready to mobilize if more resources are needed.
North Carolina rivers including the Neuse, Trent, and Cape Fear is reported to remain above and near record flood stage through the end of the week, exacerbating the flooding problems already felt through this past weekend.
Last night’s update said the storm continues to produce "heavy and locally excessive rainfall" across parts of the Carolinas and Virginia. Catastrophic and historic river flooding will continue for days across portions of the Carolinas. By the storm's end, up to 40 inches will fall in southeastern North Carolina and the northeastern tip of South Carolina. Other parts of the Carolinas will be left with up to 20 inches of rain.
Hurricane damage can be devastating over a widespread area, so you’ll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion. Regardless of the extent of the damage, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can handle any size disaster. During catastrophic events like Hurricane Florence, our Disaster Recovery Team can respond quickly with additional resources.
via: National Weather Service