FOUR COMMON STEPS FOR MOLD ASSESSMENT AND REMOVAL
If significant mold is detected in your home, it is important to deal with it immediately. Assessing mold growth involves more than just a visual inspection, however. Mold acts as a hidden intruder, growing in spaces out of sight. Should you discover mold in your house, you can expect these four common steps for professional mold remediation.
The first step is to document the situation with writing and photos. The documentation will be used to develop a remediation plan, which describes when work is slated to begin, when that work is scheduled to be completed, who will be performing the remediation, any testing that should be done, and if homeowners will be temporarily relocated.
Next, it is important to calculate the extent of the mold contamination. Since mold may not always grow in one area, determining the precise amount and its specific location(s) will lead to effective mold removal. Once an exact assessment is made, mold remediation may proceed.
Remediation will always involve cleaning up existing mold, avoiding exposure to oneself and homeowners, and preventing new growth by addressing the moisture source. After repairing the water or moisture problem, cleaning can begin. All wet materials and mold-damaged porous materials should be removed. All contaminated, non-porous materials and wood surfaces that are moldy can be cleaned at the professional's discretion.
Just because the mold is gone and there's no dirt or dust doesn't mean that the job is done. The last step is to inspect the home soon after remediation and make sure there is no sign of visible mold, mold-damaged materials, or moldy odors. Homeowners should be able to occupy the home without aggravated health complaints.
If you suspect mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill for cleanup, restoration, and repair at 562-591-1788. We are available to take your call 24/7!
THE MOLD CLEANUP PROCESS
Mold often thrives undetected due to water or moisture damage. It is important to identify the extent of mold growth before it reaches a hazardous level by reaching out to a remediation team. If you require mold cleanup in your home, you can expect a professional to perform an assessment and devise a plan for your situation. Typically, they will perform the following steps for safe and effective removal.
Before cleanup can begin, it is important to fix the cause of the mold to prevent additional spores from growing. This process may involve fixing a leak, drying down a room, or pumping out water. Next, a professional will isolate the contaminated area by closing all doors and windows between the contaminated area and other rooms of the home, based on their discretion.
Once cleaning begins, a remediation specialist will usually suppress dust by misting the contaminated areas. All wet and mold-damaged porous materials should be removed, since contamination has already permeated throughout. They should be discarded in durable plastic bags, tied, and disposed.
Generally, non-porous materials and wood surfaces that are moldy can be cleaned based on the extent of damage. A wire brush can be used on all moldy surfaces and then wiped with disposable wipes.
A mild contamination can be cleaned with a damp cloth or mop with detergent solution, while a more severe area may require special HEPA vacuums designed to trap extremely small, micron-sized particles. All areas should be visibly free of contamination and debris, and cleaned materials should be dried to allow leftover moisture to evaporate. Fans and dehumidifiers will help speed up the drying process, and materials that were moved should be replaced or repaired.
If you require mold cleanup, call SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill at 562-591-1788. We are available to take your call 24/7 and develop the correct course of action.
THE LEVELS OF MOLD DAMAGE
Often, it is difficult to determine the extent of mold damage, and there can be negative consequences caused from prolonged growth. When a contaminated area of any size is detected, a professional should be called to determine the best course of action to ensure the safety of those occupying the home. Here we will discuss the 5 levels of mold damage and typical actions for cleanup and removal.
Level 1 (0-10 Square Feet)
When addressed quickly and properly, level 1 mold is unlikely to cause a serious problems. A professional is likely to wear protective gear, remove contaminated materials in a plastic bag, and leave the area dry and free of mold contamination.
Level 2 (10-30 Square Feet)
Level 2 mold involves the same steps as level 1 with a few extra precautions. Moldy materials should be covered with double plastic sheets and sealed with tape before any handling or removal of materials to contain dust and debris. When the mold removal is finished, the area should be cleaned with a damp cloth and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum, depending on the situation.
Level 3 (30-100 Square Feet)
Mold level 3 usually indicates an underlying problem in the plumbing or air conditioning system. In addition to steps for the previous two levels, a professional may seal ventilation ducts in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting. Those residing in adjacent areas should be vacated as an extra precaution based on the discretion of the remediation professional.
Level 4 (Greater than 100 Square Feet)
For level 4 mold damage, every worker involved should be equipped with full face respirators and disposable protective clothing. Workers should completely isolate their work area from the rest of the home with sheeting sealed with duct tape. Air monitoring should be conducted prior to moving back into your home to determine if it is fit to reoccupy.
Level 5 (Air Conditioners and HVAC Systems)
Remediation procedures for air conditioning units and HVAC systems usually involve shutting down the system prior to remediation. Growth-supporting materials that are contaminated should be removed and sealed in plastic bags. Antimicrobial agents may be employed for greater mold removal as well.
SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill is ready to help you with any project, big or small. Call us 24/7 at 562-591-1788 if you detect mold in your home.
ULTRASONIC- THE WONDER MACHINE
Ultrasonic Machine - Works wonders on your fire, water or smoke damaged possessions
Fire or Water damage affects more than just the physical property. When disaster strikes, treasured possessions or important contents can also suffer from the effects of smoke, fire, mold or black water. Did you know that SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill and our Ultrasonic Machine, with it’s heavy duty cleaning capability, can restore your object back to near new condition ?! From electronics to jewelry, from home décor to antiques, items both fragile and durable may be saved by this technological wonder machine! Simply put, the process involves pressure waves, utilizing an implosion of bubbles occurring millions of times per seconds and producing tremendous vacuum energy. This breaks up the dirt and gently lifts the build up away, reaching every nook and cranny that has been damaged.
Don’t despair that your prized possessions can’t be saved. Look to SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill and our Ultrasonic technology to help make damage “Like it never even happened.”
COMMERCIAL LOSS AFTERMATH
SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill is ready to handle all types of commercial loss. Whether you own a small business or large corporation, our team is ready to repair damage resulting from, but not limited to, water, fire, storm, and mold. Depending on the size of your facility, we will categorize it into one of three categories.
The first category involves small commercial losses involving 15,000 square feet or less of affected floor space, including a stand-alone retail establishment, a daycare facility, or a portion of a larger structure. The second category involves midsize commercial losses ranging from 15,000 to 60,000 square feet of affected floor space, including multi-family properties, a midsize school, or a small shopping center. The third category involves a large commercial loss typically involving more than 60,000 square feet of affected floor space. The building or buildings will likely be large structures including a hospital, school, or university.
Moreover, claims involving commercial structures can present a number of challenges to the claim professional, especially since no two commercial building losses are ever the same. When examining commercial losses, adjusters must take into account three major considerations.
The first is multiple stakeholders. Multiple property owners and tenants, primary leases and subleases, mortgages, and liens all impact the investigation of a building loss and become essential considerations in the adjusting process. After confirmation of policy information, an adjuster will need to analyze the lease agreement between landlord and tenant, which often contains provisions that outline the rights to make improvements to the leased space.
The second major consideration is construction uniqueness. Each type of occupancy is comprised of different construction principles and methods and can vary in terms of size, alarm and fire systems, interior finishes, and tenant improvements. Because of the range of characteristics, familiarity with commercial building structures and alternative repair methods will contribute to the proper overall loss assessment.
Lastly, adjusters must be aware of commercial policies that may have coverage for business interruption, including business income and extra expenses. After a full assessment, the claim settlement amount should be based on the cost of repair or replacement at the time of the loss. The adjuster also must calculate for depreciation based upon age, usage, and obsolescence of building items. Coming full circle to the start of the adjusting process, the claim settlement needs to take into account the insurance policy of the property.
In the event of a commercial loss, repair and recovery depends on the size of the facility, the parties involved, the construction of the building, and existing policies. SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill will do its best to help you in the aftermath of a commercial loss by working with adjusters and getting you back on your feet. Call us anytime, day or night, for fast and professional service.
BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING
Fire and water damage can impact your local Long Beach business in a variety of ways. Some of the most evident ways include infrastructure damage, property damage, employee injuries, and loss of revenue. How can you ensure that your business continues running smoothly, even in the event of a sudden emergency? We at SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill have compiled information to create a business continuity plan that will keep your businesses running in the event of a disaster.
Business continuity planning is the creation of an emergency plan by recognizing threats facing the company and ensuring that personnel and assets are protected and functioning in the event of a disaster. For example, a finance company based in a major city might back-up its computer and client files offsite, providing satellite offices access to important information in the event of an emergency. Once critical business functions are identified and a recovery system is in place, it’s a good idea to coordinate a trained team to manage business disruption.
An area that is often overlooked is damage to a business from a fire within the supply chain. If your business relies on a sole supplier for goods or services, a fire within their building is likely to have an adverse effect on your business. As a supplier, dividing operations will lead to partial damage instead of total loss.
Businesses can protect themselves in the following ways:
- Securing vacant or easily accessible areas to prevent thieves from breaking in
- Implementing a safety team to prevent accidents caused by neglect, poor housekeeping, hot work equipment, hazardous chemicals, or unsafe work practices.
- Providing fire safety training and routinely checking fire alarms and fire extinguishers
- Practicing an evacuation plan
A business continuity plan offers several benefits. It improves public perception and acceptance of the company. By displaying a proactive attitude and preparedness, the public will have a positive impression of the organization, leading to more trust and business. Additionally, it will boost your employees' morale and command loyalty by offering them more assurance and stability. Shareholders and partners will gain added security by investing and collaborating with a business that makes every effort to prepare for the unexpected. Lastly, overall efficiency improves, allowing the company to respond quickly and keep losses to a minimum.
With a well-designed plan, we hope to see your Long Beach commercial business running smoothly, regardless of the circumstances. Even with preparation, SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill recognizes that emergencies happen routinely, and we are here to help restore your commercial building and keep your business flowing.
JOIN THE RED CROSS "SOUND THE ALARM" CAMPAIGN
At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we do our best to advocate emergency preparedness and safety. Our professional restoration services will help aid you when disaster hits, but did you know that you can also promote safety and make a difference in your community?
Every day, seven people die in home fires and 36 suffer injuries, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately become the victims. The American Red Cross sought to improve the odds and save lives by creating the Home Fire Campaign in 2014. A critical part of the campaign is “Sound the Alarm”, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Together with fire departments and other community partners, Red Cross volunteers canvass at-risk neighborhoods, install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms, and provide fire prevention and safety education.
The Red Cross will install a limited number of free smoke alarms for those who cannot afford them or are unable to install them, including specialized bedside alarms for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. To identify your local region office, please visit RedCross.org (or call 1-800-REDCROSS). Depending on where you live and other factors, partner organizations may assist in creating an appointment for your house alarm. If you are able to purchase and install your own smoke alarm, but would like information on home fire safety and smoke alarm installation, you can visit redcross.org/homefire.
In just three years, the home visits have installed more than 1 million smoke alarms and prepared more than 1 million people against house fires. So far, 472 lives have been saved and 600,000 homes have been made emergency ready. In the LA region alone, the Red Cross and its partners have accomplished the following:
- Served 29,396 people
- Canvased 19,148 homes
- Conducted 8,017 home visits
- Created 6,694 evacuation plans
- Witnessed 3,854 volunteers attend events
There are five ways you can get involved.
1. Get Prepared at Home: Learn how to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover after a home fire. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, test smoke alarms every month, and talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
2. Teach Fire Safety in Your Classroom: The Pillowcase Project is a preparedness education program for grades 3 - 5, which teaches students about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills. You can contact your local Red Cross to find out more.
3. Volunteer to Help Others: Join your local Red Cross to install smoke alarms, educate your community about fire safety, or help others after a fire. Volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross.
4. Make a Donation: Help families prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from home fires by making a small donation. A little goes a long way.
5. Sound the Alarm. Save a life: You can help this spring by installing free smoke alarms in your community. In 2018, 100,000 smoke alarms were installed and 28,000 volunteers raised $15,000,000!
To view upcoming volunteer opportunities, in the Los Angeles area, you can visit https://www.redcross.org/local/california/los-angeles/about-us/our-work/home-fire-safety.html
IMMEDIATE RESPONSE AND THE SERVPRO EMERGENCY READY PROFILE
Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to our local communities. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night, if you experience an emergency in the greater Long Beach area.
In many cleaning and restoration situations, immediate action is needed. Fortunately, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. If you find yourself outside of our serviceable area, you may contact over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian franchise locations. Our immediate response helps to minimize the damage, cleaning, and restoration costs.
Many emergencies that we encounter include some type of water damage. Water is particularly invasive, quickly spreading throughout your property and permeating floors, walls, and furniture. SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately.
Within minutes, water quickly spreads throughout your property. It saturates everything in its path, absorbing into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings. Between 1 and 24 hours, drywall begins to swell and break down, metal surfaces begin to tarnish, and furniture begins to crack. Within 48 hours to a week, mold and mildew may grow and spread, and doors, windows, and studs start to warp. Metal begins to rust and corrode, and furniture distorts, showing signs of mold. After a week, restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
Even though disaster strikes unexpectedly, you can always plan ahead of time. By utilizing the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program for your business, you can create an Emergency READY Profile for your establishment, at no charge. You can work with SERVPRO to gather and document information that will become critical if a disaster strikes. Once the profile is created, you will have access to your information 24/7 online and by using SERVPRO’s free smartphone app.
With proper planning, you can land back on your feet faster than ever. Don’t incur more damage and expense by waiting to contact a professional. SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill is ready to respond any time or day of the year.
CLAIMS RESPONSE AND SERVICE
As an agent or adjuster, you have a responsibility to keep claims costs down while still providing the best services possible for your customers. At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we understand your situation and are uniquely qualified to help. Our results create a noticeable difference and make your job easier.
Our job is to reassure the customer, perform quality service, and to report to you quickly. We know your job is to interpret the policy and adjust the claim, and not to deal with problems from vendors. Working together we strive to save you time so you can focus on priority files, while having complete control of every loss you are assigned. Damage mitigation, loss assessment, and an electronic file are available to you within hours. Our documented, measured performance increases value to you and your shareholders, managers, and customers.
If you call SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we will use only qualified vendors to service your customer. That commitment resulted in an implementation of best practices and job process programs, crew and vehicle standards, and insurance requirements. Our file documentation requirements and quality assurance program will also guarantee service at the highest standard.
Some of the services we provide involving claims include the following:
- Emergency Response to Claims: Restoring property is our first priority. Your customer will appreciate the immediate response and you will know everything is being done to limit the damage.
- Pretesting Reduces Claims Expense: Restoring property is less expensive than replacing property. Claims professionals know the rule is, "Restore whenever possible, replace only when necessary." At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we make sure pretesting is completed on every loss to determine restorability.
- Claims Inventory Service: We can provide an itemized loss inventory. You will receive an Excel formatted report and pictures of important items.
- Electronic Claims Information: Our Claims Information Center provides fast, accurate information you need to make sound decisions, including a complete electronic job file, online access to all files, informative reports to improve results, and performance comparison to the industry standard.
Hard-earned results have made SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill leaders in the fire and water cleanup and restoration industry. Our system is geared to achieve customer satisfaction and mitigation results, adding to your company’s competitive advantage.
EXCEPTIONAL TRAINING AND STANDARDS
At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, effective training is the best way to ensure our customers receive the service they deserve. Franchise owners and industry employees may learn a wealth of restoration and mitigation skills at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility.
At the facility, new franchises must participate in a 15 day in-house, hands-on training program covering fire restoration, water restoration, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and mold mitigation. Employees may learn at their own pace and take advantage of video and web based training modules. Continuing education about emergency mitigation services is also offered in the form of credit and noncredit courses.
Our responders are trained to standards set forth by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and complete various year-around education courses at the highest degree. Developed in 1972, the IICRC sought to set standards for the cleaning, inspection, and restoration service industries. The group boasts 53,000 active certified registered technicians and 6,000 certified individuals and firms, making it the premier certification and standard-setting body for the industry.
In order to obtain certification, technicians must first attend specialized classes in the field of cleaning, inspection, and restoration and pass a standardized test. After achieving certification, technicians must remain knowledgeable on current trends in their field and learn how to overcome new challenges by earning continuing education credits. The title of master technician can be only be acquired with additional training and 3 to 5 years of experience.
The scope of IICRC certifications qualifies a remediation and restoration company to adequately and safely restore a home. While not mandatory, this accreditation offers confidence and guarantee to homeowners and businesses affected by floods, fires, and other disasters. Rest assured, these technicians possess the training and expertise to work with specific machinery and products needed for comprehensive restoration.
SERVPRO has developed the most extensive performance guidelines in the industry. These guidelines assure you receive the best restoration service in the industry. At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we maintain proper guidelines for business. From insurance to background checks on employees, each requirement is maintained continually to help ensure you get the best possible service providers.