This past week, ServiceMaster by ARTec hosted a Continuing Education Class for Insurance Professionals on Mold Remediation. This three hour class is meant to inform attendees about the mold remediation processs so that they can better support their customers with mold claims.
Instructor Mike Teti started off with the basics:
What is Mold?
Mold is part of the fungi kingdom. Fungi are like plants but DON’T photosynthesize, rather they secrete chemicals that break down other living things and absorb their nutrition. In other words, mold is nature’s recycling agent.
There are over 100,000 types (species) of mold, some of the most common being:
These types of mold can be found in your home on bread, cheese, basement walls and in bathrooms.
Is mold dangerous?
Each type of mold is different and while some are safe and even edible, others can cause harm to not only homes, but also our bodies. The most common types of allergic reactions to mold include:
- Skin irritation
- Sinus problems
- Lung and breathing troubles
Mold is everywhere around us and we breath in spores on a daily basis but the people at higher risk to from mold are:
- Immune suppressed
- Asthma, allergy sufferers
So if you have mold growing in your home, what should you do?
Mold damage can be very serious and it is important that it is cleaned and remediated properly. There are standards of care and clean up that must be met that are required by the EPA, Department of Health and industry professionals.
- Stop the source—usually there is a leak or water source that is feeding the mold growth.
- Locate the mold—technicians will search to find out where the mold is and just how far it has reached.
- Consult a Hygienist—hygienists are used to professionally test and discover the extent of damage caused by the mold. Their official testing is done before and after remediation to see just how many mold spores are in the air. Hygienists also provide protocol for how to deal with the problem.
- Contain the affected area—it is important the room or area with mold is contained and blocked off from the rest of the home so that the spores do not spread.
- Physical Removal–this often includes destroying porous materials the mold has affected.
- Remediation—some surfaces and items can be cleaned and remediated. There are certain types of cleaners and products that remediation professionals can use to ensure the mold spores are removed.
This process seems simple but can be very tedious. It is important to be accurate and detailed in documenting and removal of mold. Technicians who are working in moldy environments must also wear Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to ensure their heath is not affected by the mold spores. Working in the PPE can be cumbersome and restrictive.
PPE Equipment includes:
Some of our class attendees got so try on some PPE and saw just how hard it can be to work in a contained and restrictive environment.
The class touched on some very basic information about what mold is, why it’s a problem and how companies like ServiceMaster fix the problem.