Monthly Archives: June 2013

Participating in National Home Saftey Month

June is recognized as the month for National Home Safety. Participate with us by committing to being prepared, informed, and living well.

Grill Safety TIps

A popular part of living well in June is enjoying the great weather! Breaking out the grill is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the coming of summer.  Remember before kicking off a great barbecue:

  • Propane and charcoal grills are for outdoor use only!
  • Avoid grilling close to your house, railings, or overhanging branches. Smoke damage can be quite an extensive project to tackle. Read more about smoke damage clean up.
  • Maintain a clean grill by proper heating, scrubbing, and cleaning the grease tray often.
  • Make sure to never leave the grill unattended while in use, and don’t forget to shut the propane off when you’re done.
  • To check for leaks in the tank hose, use a light soap and water mix. If you see bubbles after applying the solution to the hose, don’t light that grill! Have it serviced first.
  • Always let coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.
  • Of course, accidents do happen, so have a plan in place for prompt response if you have an emergency.  If you are local on Cape Cod, read about Whalen Restoration’s emergency response services.

This June, work on preventing household injuries by addressing factors in and around your home.

  • As included in most of our safety tips, have an emergency safety plan. Keep it simple so that all ages of your home will know what to do, but include enough to cover most of the common disasters your area may encounter in a year.
  • Keep an emergency kit handy in the event of a natural disaster and/or loss of power. Make sure you have the essentials to last a few days including water, first aid, flashlights with extra batteries, and nonperishable food. More in depth details of what you should have and how to assemble a kit can be found at http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms yearly, and test them often. Make sure there is one on every floor of your home and near fire hazards.
  • Be sure to have emergency telephone numbers handy for accidents. Poison control and other emergency contact numbers are great to have posted on the refrigerator for quick access.
  •  Make sure any toxic products and medications are stored in childproof areas.

With those safety and prevention tips in mind, another very large part of home safety is making time to care for you. Nothing should interfere with having a balanced diet and good exercise habits. That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in strawberry short cake at the cookout or take a day’s rest from the gym, but it does mean that you should be regularly eating clean, getting sufficient exercise, and regular sleep. Luckily, the urgency to adapt these great habits is becoming one of today’s most popular topics, creating an amazing variety of options to suit everyone’s needs. By caring for yourself you’ll be preventing household injury by keeping a clear mind and stronger body.

Pledge to honor this National Home Safety month and reap the benefits all year long. I wish you all a safe, happy, and healthy Summer.

 

MOLD AND YOUR HOME

Mold is a hot topic in home health hazards today. It is something that is inevitable and everywhere. We are exposed to the many varieties mold in the air we breathe, the surfaces we touch, and the food we eat. Some of it is invasive to the surfaces of our homes, potentially causing damage or physical ailment. If you find mold in your home, what do you do?

Black mold in house

Black mold in house

First try to understand mold for what it is: a natural fungus. Professionals continue researching mold to learn more about the potential hazards and benefits it offers. Not all mold is toxic, and healthy humans are mostly unaffected by it. People with preexisting respiratory problems, young children, and elderly are more susceptible to reactions. Other than that, depending on the variables, most reactions are allergic just like food or pollen allergies. Don’t forget that some fungi species are beneficial such as penicillin. Much of the research being conducted with mold is for workers exposed often to large amounts of mold such as remediators, waste management, and agriculture.

Still, many find mold growing in their homes concerning. They key to controlling mold growth is moisture control. You cannot remove all mold spores from your home; they will always be present at least floating around in the air and house dust. What you can do is keep the spores from growing by controlling the amount of moisture indoors. All mold spore types require moisture to grow, starting with a wet surface. If you find mold, it must be cleaned and then the source of the moisture found and fixed. By just cleaning mold you are only temporarily fixing the problem. You may need to consider purchasing a dehumidifier to run continuously if the moisture problem is simply the general atmosphere of where you live.

So when do you call a mold remediation specialist? How you address the cleaning of the mold depends on multiple factors. You must consider the size of the problem. Typically if the mold you find only covers a small area, you can clean it yourself following a few guidelines for your protection.  If you suspect mold in your duct work, refrain from running your air system until you have had the ducts professional cleaned and sanitized. If mold is found in a home that has suffered water damage, you will want to call an air quality specialist to test the area. You will also want to call them if the mold is in area subject to a sewage problem. After their testing and analysis, these specialists then provide the mold remediation professionals with a protocol. Due to the many species of mold, and the different methods of cleaning them, in order to ensure complete mold remediation, this protocol is required.

For mold you believe you can clean on your own without consulting air quality specialists and mold remediation specialists, here are some guidelines:  After scrubbing mold off of a hard surface, be sure that the surface and area is completely dry afterward. Consider tossing porous materials and textiles if they are moldy. Feel free to consult a professional before tossing, but understand that the mold may breed into the open spaces within the items; areas impossible to treat. Even if mold is removed from the surface, it may still reside within.  Keeping mold out of the bathroom can be nearly impossible and requires cleaning surfaces often to maintain it. If it seems to keep reappearing, increase the ventilation in the bathroom and clean it more frequently. You should be cleaning surfaces before the mold can be visually detected.  By doing this you will keep occurrences to a minimum.

When cleaning mold, we suggest wearing a mask, gloves, and goggles. The EPA suggests using an N-95 respirator. Try to avoid making contact with the mold with bare skin. Many people have the mask and gloves down, but then forget to protect their eyes. Wear goggles to avoid getting spores in them.  After cleaning, again, make sure that all affected areas are dried completely and start controlling the humidity in the room.  Check back to the area often for signs of mold growth and water damage.

You can help prevent mold growth in many ways. Keeping up with seasonal cleaning is a key factor, including keeping those gutters clear and your roof clean.  Check your foundation and make sure that water will drain away from it properly; the ground should slope that way. Make sure to clean leaks and spills as soon as you are aware of them.  Protect yourself when cleaning mold, and clean areas susceptible to it often. If you encounter mold that you believe need professional attention, have your local air quality specialist test it and then call a trusted mold remediation specialist with the protocol.