Archive for the ‘Toxic Mold’ Category

FREE Florida CEUs for NORMI Members

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

ACTIVE NORMI Members have access to ongoing continuing education training every Tuesday night (48 times a year) in our BTS Training Room. These interactive webinars provide an opportunity for members to get ongoing training, news and other information regarding the mold profession. Unique to the NORMI organization, members are given the opportunity to “meet and greet” other NORMI members across the country on a regular basis and get their specific field questions answered.

NORMI is an approved training provider for many stated, including the State of Florida (PVD MRS0003605), and continues to offer onsite classes for CEU (continuing education units). The State of Florida requires each licensed Mold Related Services Assessor and/or Remediator to take fourteen (14) hours of approved continuing education during each renewal cycle (every two years).

The State of Florida recently approved NORMI CEUs to be given in a LIVE ONLINE format. These classes are offered at various times throughout the year and on specific Tuesday nights inside of the regular weekly training. ONLY ACTIVE NORMI Members may take advantage of this option to receive, over the course of a year, all the CEUs needed for renewal at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE!

“We are pleased to make this announcement,” said Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors. “NORMI continues to lead the industry in filling the void of training and this is just another high-tech way of delivering relevant and current information. Connecting our active members to the organization and to the industry through this member benefit is one of our unique offerings and we’re thrilled that the State of Florida has recognized its value.”

To become an ACTIVE NORMI member, go to the “JOIN” tab at the top of www.NORMI.org. For more information, contact NORMI at 877.251.2296 or email support@normi.org

Top Ten Tips to Avoid Structural Mold from Flooding

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nonprofit Contact Person: Doug Hoffman
877.251.2296 ext. 876 mediaalert@normi.org

May 31, 2016 (Abita Springs, LA) – A few simple steps can save property owners thousands of dollars of damage due to structural mold growth, according to Doug Hoffman, executive director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (www.NORMI.org), a nonprofit organization that trains and certifies indoor air quality professionals. Taking the necessary steps to avoid structural mold growth not only preserves the integrity of a structure but also the health of its occupants, further explains Kurt and Lee Ann Billings, authors of the book MOLD: The War Within, which details lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. Flooding area residents must be proactive, act quickly, and use proper personal protection equipment when implementing the following ten steps:
1. Remove any standing water using a pump or a wet vac. If the water damage is from a broken pipe, be sure to turn off the water supply.
2. Remove wet carpets, rugs, draperies and personal belongings. Clear mud and debris from floors and foundation walls to allow the subflooring and foundation to dry.
3. Remove and discard water-saturated sheetrock and insulation 18 inches above the highest watermark to increase structural drying. Remove water-damaged flexible ductwork and water-damaged insulation around metal ductwork.
4. Remove all mold growth on remaining structural building materials by mechanical means or complete removal if necessary. The easiest and most effective way to initially clean mold from structural building materials is to use a commercial wet/dry HEPA vacuum, followed by wiping, scrubbing, scrapping or sanding for complete removal.
5. Don’t use bleach to clean mold. Bleach is an effective sanitizer but it will not remove mold at its “root”. The mold will look like it’s gone but it is not; it will only grow back.
6. Use sanitizers on any portion of the structure contaminated by sewage or flood waters.
7. Dry the structure out as quickly as possible as structural mold begins to form in the first 24-48 hours. As soon as the above removal steps are completed, turn up the heat, circulate the air with fans, and use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor humidity below 50 percent. Hot, dry air dries things faster than cold moist air. If there’s no electricity, open windows and doors to get air moving to speed up the drying process, if weather permits.
8. Check the attic as undetected roof leaks can later cause structural mold problems.
9. Inspect windows on the outside of the structure, checking for damaged caulking and seals that could lead to future water leaks.
10. Don’t seal it up until it’s dry. Siding, sheetrock, and flooring repairs should be done only after the substrates are completely dry. Confirm moisture content by using a moisture meter.
For more information on water damage and flood resources, please see www.Flood.NORMI.org, www.NORMIProETF.org or to locate a certified mold inspector or remediator in your area, log onto www.NORMIPro.com or call 1.877.251.2296.

OSHA Cites Indoor Air Quality As Important For Worker’s Health

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Mold in the WorkplaceGood indoor air quality is important for homes, but also for businesses. A poor work environment leads to more sick days and sluggish employees. All of this combines to poor productivity and employee performance. An investment in clean air for a workplace can repay itself many times over.

OSHA says the following about workplace indoor air quality:

“The quality of indoor air inside offices, schools, and other workplaces is important not only for workers’ comfort but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.”

If you are interested in determining the state of your workplace indoor air quality, contact one of our NORMI certified indoor air quality professionals at www.normipro.com.

photo credit: UIS Students in the Workplace via photopin (license)

Syracuse Class for NY Mold License Set

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Abita Springs

10/28/2015

NORMI, The National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors announced today that their first licensure class for the State of New York Labor Law has been set for 12/01-04 in Syracuse, NY at the offices of CleanTec Enterprises.  The flyer for this class has been emailed to prospective students and the class details have been posted on the Best Training School website on a special page for the New York Labor Law.  NORMI has been approved as MTP-005

“We are very excited about our class because we take a very unique approach to this industry,” said Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI.  “We believe assessors must know what remediators do and remediators must know what assessors do so we train them in the same classroom.  In the case of the New York license, the Assessor needs 32 hours, the Remediation Contractor needs 24 hours and the Abatement Worker needs 16 hours before applying for licensure.  The first day we have only assessors, then the remediation contractors join us the second day and we have all three disciplines the third and fourth day.  It maximizes our ability to teach a singular message and a group of mold professionals who need to know how to work together!”  The curriculum for each discipline is listed at Best Training School.

NORMI has been training mold professionals since 2004 when Louisiana established the first licensing law for remediators and since that time has become an approved training provider for Louisiana, Florida and now New York.  Other states are moving toward licensure and initial training is almost always included in the requirements.  “There are some organizations in the marketplace that tout the fact they don’t require training for certification but that ignores the dynamic nature of the industry and the importance of professionals staying up with the techniques and equipment changes,” said Lance Eisen, COO of NORMI.  “Fortunately the states are seeing the need for basic training AND experience.  It just doesn’t make sense to hold a license holder responsible for a law he’s not been trained in so these legislatures are moving in the right direction!  We’re glad they are seeing the needs in the industry.”

“The mold industry has been riddled with ‘fly-by-night’ operators who decided they could make a lot of money at the owner’s expense,” said Linda Eicher, BTS National Training Director. “Requiring a license is the direction each state should take, not for the purpose of telling mold professionals how to do their job any more than they should tell a surgeon how to perform surgery, but to regulate the bad guys and get them out of the industry.  That’s the best way to protect the public.”

NORMI has been involved in the legislative process for many years and served as a stake holder for multiple states in their process of establishing guidelines and standards of practice.  For more information on the New York Labor Law or other state requirements, see our website at www.NORMI.org or call 877.251.2296

Where Were YOU When Katrina Hit NOLA?

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Abita Springs, LA

Coming up on the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we take a moment to ask, “Where were you and what is your story?”  There are many, many stories and we need to listen to one another about our experience…it was life-changing!

NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors was formed in Hammond, LA on July 4, 2004.  Created to become a national certifying agency for mold professionals, our first trainings were held in the New Orleans area to train mold remediators so they could become licensed as Certified Mold Remediators in the State of Louisiana, the first state in the union to have licensing for mold professionals!  It was a small beginning to what turned out to be a very fast and successful growth over the next eleven years.

But what happened just a year later following Katrina catapulted NORMI into the national spotlight because we were not carpet-baggers or “vultures” coming in for the kill, we were home-grown, already planted and dedicated training professionals committed to helping people clean it up right!   Here’s what we did: 1) we held training sessions (some held even in our home) for homeowners and remediators to hone their skills and educate them on proper safety precautions and protocols, 2) we held FREE public seminars at the library in Jefferson Parish (with Paul LaGrange, Ronnie Wirth, Doug Hoffman and other experts) to help property owners work through the maze of insurance, the building department and other issues, handing out free copies of our book Mold-Free Construction, 3) we negotiated with underwriters to write a NORMI Certificate of Sanitization that could verify that work done was done properly and without the use of bleach, 4) we helped the DEQ (Department of Envionmental Quality) find a solution for the formaldehyde problem in FEMA trailers, and 5) we appeared on multiple TV stations and radio channels answering questions, simply making a positive difference in an environment that seemed all but positive!

The years following Katrina have dramatically changed the complexion of metro New Orleans.  Covington, Mandeville and Abita Springs (where NORMI is now located) became a Northshore magnet for folks wanting to move out of the bowl of New Orleans yet remain close enough to enjoy the spirit of New Orleans.  The look of neighborhoods in Lakeview changed dramatically as previously ground-based homes were elevated to avoid future flooding.  Over and over again citizens expressed their gratefulness to God and others for having survived with their lives even when they had lost virtually every material possession.  And faith-based organizations, rather than government, shined as the true heroes of a disaster because they were first to respond and first to supply the needs of those who needed a hand up not a hand-out!  And so the recovery continues, even now.

This spot is not normally reserved for feedback but here, and wherever this is shared on social media, it would be wonderful to hear once again the wonderful stories of heroism, sacrifice and selflessness that marked the days following Katrina.  Is there someone you’d like to honor?  Do so here for we will never forget how the Gulf Coast continues to grow stronger as a result of a storm that could have destroyed lesser men!  Thank you for being such an inspiration.

For more information about NORMI and training for mold professionals, email support@normi.org or call 877.251.2296

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New York Mold Law Training Starts Soon!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Abita Springs, LA

NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors, announced today that, pending Department approval, they will begin training in New York after the first of the year.  The New York Mold Licensing Law will go into effect January 1, 2016 requiring Assessment Consultants, Remediation Contractors and Mold Workers to be licensed to perform work on mold projects in excess of 10 square feet of visible mold.  The law includes a training requirement where such training must be approved by the Department.  Applicants are responsible for confirming such approval before investing in classes that claim to meet the State of NY requirements.

“The process for approval has been quite detailed and strenuous,” said Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI, “but that means the training will meet a very high standard so that those who are trained will understand the importance of protecting themselves and their clients from the potentially devastating effects of mold contamination.  This industry is very dynamic with constant changes in techniques and technologies so it is vital that mold professionals NEVER stop learning!”

NORMI has been training mold professionals since its founding in July, 2004 across the country, which coincided with the State of Louisiana mold remediation licensing law, the first State to have such licensing.  “We have been privileged to do mold training throughout the US and, even in Canada,” reported Mr. Hoffman.  “States that currently have mold licensing laws include Texas, Florida, Maryland and Louisiana with the District of Columbia and New York coming on board on January 1, 2016.  New York has established a curriculum that requires 32 hours of training for assessors, 24 hours of training for remediators and 16 hours of training for workers, probably the most detailed requirement of all the licensing laws.”  NORMI will provide training that includes the NORMI Professional Practices, an improved standard of care for mold professionals.  For non-professionals, NORMI offers the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Guidance Document at the homepage of their website.

Licensing laws have successfully separated the functions of mold professionals into two major categories: those who assess the problem(s) and those who perform the work to resolve the detected problem(s).  “The real value in licensing by the State is avoiding the conflict of interest that has traditionally plagued this industry,” according to Lance Eisen, COO of NORMI.  “When a remediator is also the one who determines whether or not the problem is large enough to require remediation, there’s an inherent conflict of interest.  You never want the fox guarding the chicken coop!”

Licensing classes are planned throughout the State of New York and registration for those classes will be available at www.BestTrainingSchool.com.  For more information contact NORMI at 877.251.2296 or email support@normi.org

HomeAdvisor 2015 “Best of HomeAdvisor Award”

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Abita Springs, LA

May 7, 2015

We are pleased to announce that thirteen of our NORMI members have been honored by HomeAdvisor with the “Best of HomeAdvisor Award”!  HomeAdvisor is the premier lead-sourcing program in the construction industry and NORMI members are encouraged to take advantage of the lead-sourcing they provide which benefits their individual business and the public.

“I am so proud of these entrepreneurs who have been certified with us, connected to us and provided outstanding service to the public,” remarked Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors).  These folks are doing exactly what we encourage them to do and have proven successful following our model.  Congratulations to them for their dedication to providing the best service in the industry!”

HomeAdvisor said, “Thank you for being a partner of HomeAdvisor. We value our relationship, and we look forward to continuing to develop and grow our partnership in the coming year.

“We are pleased to announce that 13 pros in your network have received the ‘Best of HomeAdvisor Award’ for 2015! This distinction recognizes top industry professionals based on quality, service and value in the HomeAdvisor network. These members were chosen because they exemplify superior work practices, are committed to first-rate service and provide a fair value for the work they’re performing. Only the top pros in the HomeAdvisor network are bestowed this prestigious award!”

Recipients of the 2015 Best of HomeAdvisor Award are:

Curtis Roberts Mold Inspection

Green Way Solutions

AirTech Solutions 4U

MicroClean Technology, Inc.

Integrity Air Quality Solutions

Residential Air Quality

Jose Technologies, Inc.

A Healthier Home, LLC

Environmental Services Group Carolinas, LLC

Pure Air Solutions, LLC

The Best Restoration, LLC

Gnl Enterprises, LLC

DMC Environmental Service

For more information regarding training and certifying with NORMI, see www.NORMI.org, contact us at support@NORMI.org or cal 877.251.2296  NORMI is an approved training/certifications provider for multiple states and offered thirteen certifications.

Top Ten Tips to Avoid Structural Mold from Broken Pipes, Ice Dams, and Flooding

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nonprofit Contact Person: Doug Hoffman
877.251.2296 ext. 876 mediaalert@normi.org

January 28, 2015 (Abita Springs, LA) – A few simple steps can save property owners thousands of dollars of damage due to structural mold growth, according to Doug Hoffman, executive director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (www.NORMI.org), a nonprofit organization involved in providing training and certifications for mold and indoor air quality professionals.

Taking the necessary steps to avoid structural mold growth will not only preserve the integrity of a building but also the health of its occupants, further explains Kurt and Lee Ann Billings, authors of the book MOLD: The War Within, which details lessons learned from Katrina.

Disaster area residents must be proactive, act quickly, and use proper personal protection equipment when implementing the following ten steps:
1. Remove any standing water using a pump or a wet vac. If the water damage is from a broken pipe, be sure to turn off the water supply.
2. Remove wet carpets, rugs, draperies and personal belongings. Clear mud and debris from floors and foundation walls to allow the subflooring and foundation to dry.
3. Remove and discard water-saturated sheetrock and insulation 18 inches above the highest watermark to increase structural drying. Remove water-damaged flexible ductwork and water-damaged insulation around metal ductwork.
4. Remove all mold growth on remaining structural building materials by mechanical means or complete removal if necessary. The easiest and most effective way to initially clean mold from structural building materials is by using a commercial wet/dry HEPA vacuum, followed by wiping, scrubbing, scrapping or sanding for complete removal.
5. Don’t use bleach to clean mold. Bleach is an effective sanitizer but it will not remove mold at its “root”. The mold will look like it’s gone but it is not; it will only grow back.
6. Use sanitizers on any portion of the structure contaminated by sewage or flood waters.
7. Dry the structure out as quickly as possible as structural mold will begin to form in the first 24-48 hours. As soon as the above removal steps are completed, turn up the heat, circulate the air with fans, and use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor humidity below 50 percent. Hot, dry air dries things faster than cold moist air. If there’s no electricity, open windows and doors to get air moving to speed up the drying process, if weather permits.
8. Check the attic as undetected roof leaks can later become big structural mold problems.
9. Inspect windows on the outside of the structure, checking for damaged caulking and seals that could lead to future water leaks.
10. Don’t seal it up until it’s dry. Siding, sheetrock, and flooring repairs should be done only after the substrates are completely dry. Confirm moisture content by using a moisture meter.

For more information on toxic mold, water damage and flood resources, please see www.Flood.NORMI.org or to locate a certified mold inspector, assessor or remediator in your area, log onto www.NORMIPro.com or call 1.877.251.2296 and follow us at www.Facebook.NORMI.org

NORMI Offers Remote Florida Licensing Examination Option

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Abita Springs, LA     August 2014

“We have received many questions regarding the Florida licensing law and want to clear up any confusion regarding that process,” reported Doug Hoffman, Executive Director or NORMI.  “Florida licensure is becoming a national model in an industry where such regulation is necessary  because of its reasonable approach to the industry.  Interestingly, the MRSA and MRSR license and NORMI credentials have proven valuable to mold professionals, no matter in which state they work.”

In November of 2013, NORMI was approved to offer the State of Florida proctored examination for licensure.  As a result, NORMI has partnered with many safety councils across the State of Florida to administer the proctored examination and applicants from all over the country are now finding it easier and more convenient to apply for the Florida license.  Simply by paying the examination fee, the applicant is directed to the proctoring location closest to him/her and given information on how to schedule the examination.  The examination, proctored on location, is then taken online and the results are immediate.  Verification documentation is then emailed to the applicant referencing his/her passing grade.  This testing documentation along with his training document are a part of the initial licensure requirements.

“Although the State of Florida does not require a specific number of hours of initial training (like the 24 hrs. the State of Louisiana requires, for instance),” said Hoffman, “those who challenge the examination are advised to consider taking a course in preparation for the examination (either MRSA or MRSR Prep Course).  The State of Florida DOES require documentation that the applicant has been trained (no specific hours) in ‘mold, moisture and respiratory protection’ and that training can be provided by a variety of training providers.  We have also been approved by the State of Florida to provide that training, as well as the 14 hours of continuing education required for license renewal.”

NORMI, the National Organization of Remediation and Mold Inspectors, offers fourteen certifications and is a non-profit certifying trade association dedicated to support mold and IAQ professionals in the industry.  NORMI is currently aggressively pursing licensure for every state.  For more information, contact 877.251.2296 or email support@normi.org

Hospitals Need IAQ Assessments and Solutions!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

REPRINT from CHICAGO TRIBUNE 06/21/24

llinois hospitals facing Medicare penalties over infection rates Northwestern among 6 in state that could have payments docked June 21, 2014|

By Peter Frost, Jordan Rau and Richard Webner, Chicago Tribune

At least six Illinois hospitals are at risk of having their Medicare payments docked this fall, the government’s toughest effort yet to crack down on unnecessary infections and other patient injuries, federal records show. Included on that list is Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which logged one of the highest rates of hospital-acquired conditions in Illinois. Based on preliminary federal data, Northwestern and at least five other Illinois hospitals are facing annual penalties that could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, starting in October.

The financial penalties, which amount to 1 percent of every Medicare payment for a year, are designed to provide a powerful incentive for hospitals to improve patient care and, as a result, save the federal government and taxpayers money. “We want hospitals focused on patient safety, and we want them laser-focused on eliminating patient harm,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, chief medical officer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Federal officials in April released preliminary data showing which hospitals would be assessed, identifying 761 institutions.

When Medicare sets the final penalties later this year, the list may change because the government will include performance over a longer period. In Illinois, 26 of 125, or about 21 percent, of the hospitals scored by Medicare would face penalties based on that preliminary analysis, including most of the region’s teaching hospitals. The Tribune, working with Kaiser Health News, focused on Illinois hospitals that experts said are the most likely to face penalties after Medicare compiles the complete data. Aside from Northwestern, the remaining five hospitals are located outside Chicagoland.

They include OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka, FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport and Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney. Each ranked among the bottom 10 percent nationwide on the government’s scoring system, which includes three measures:

  • The frequency of bloodstream infections in patients with catheters inserted into a major artery to deliver antibiotics, nutrients, chemotherapy or other treatments.
  • The rates of infections from catheters inserted into the bladder to drain urine.
  • A variety of avoidable safety problems in patients, including bedsores, hip fractures, blood clots and accidental lung punctures.

The final infection-related scores will be based on data for 2012 and 2013; the data for avoidable safety problems include incidents that occurred from July 2011 through June 2013. Dr. Clifford McDonald, a senior adviser at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the worst performing hospitals “still have a lot of room to move in a positive direction.” The Medicare infection penalties, created by the 2010 federal health law often called Obamacare, make up the third of the federal health law’s major mandatory pay-for-performance programs.

The first levies penalties against hospitals with high readmission rates, and the second awards bonuses or penalties based on two dozen quality measures. Both programs are in their second year. When all three programs are in place this fall, hospitals will be at risk of losing up to 5.4 percent of their Medicare payments. The latest sanctions, estimated to total $330 million over a year, kick in at a time when most infections measured in hospitals are on the decline but still too common. In 2012, 1 out of every 8 patients nationally suffered a potentially avoidable complication during a hospital stay, the government estimates.

Meanwhile, new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are making infections much harder to cure. Over the next few years, Medicare will also factor in surgical site infections and infection rates from two germs that are resistant to antibiotic treatments: Clostridium difficile, known as C. diff, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA. There may be little difference in the performance between hospitals that narrowly draw penalties and those that barely escape them.

That is because the health law requires Medicare to punish the worst-performing quarter of the nation’s hospitals each year, even if they have been improving. “Hospitals that have been working hard to reduce infections may end up in the penalty box,” said Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and public safety at the American Hospital Association. The data also identify higher-performing hospitals. Norwegian American Hospital in Humboldt Park, for example, ranked among Illinois’ best performers, according to Medicare’s preliminary analysis. Dr. Abha Agrawal, the safety-net hospital’s chief operating officer and vice president of medical affairs, said the data reflect strides the hospital has made in recent years on patient quality.

For more information about assessing medical environments, contact http://www.NORMIProMgmt.com at 1.877.751.5600