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Disaster Recovery
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As we look ahead to reopening schools and universities in the fall, experts warn of the need for additional maintenance to ensure healthy spaces. Many classrooms have been dormant or underutilized for months due to Covid-19 and with that can come an array of unseen hazards. Water damage can lurk behind walls, mold can line the ductwork in HVAC and stale odors can linger without a clear source. The last thing administrators, parents, students and facility staff want is unforeseen problems to prevent school from starting normally in the fall. The way to prevent that is by practicing aggressive facility hygiene now.

Reopening Schools and Universities

HVAC Inspection for Reopening Schools and Universities

HVAC has been in the spotlight recently not just for schools and universities but all occupied buildings due to Covid-19 ventilation concerns. In addition to air flow rate inspections, there are other unseen hazards that need to be accounted for. Every summer we get calls from school districts and universities that find major HVAC issues right as they are scheduled to reopen. The first step to avoiding this is prevention by properly closing down the school.

When it’s time to return a critical mistake is to come in and turn on the HVAC system prior to inspection. If the ventilation system has been compromised by mold over the summer months, now it is blowing those spores all over the building. Verify the system is still in good working condition first with an inspection by a certified technician. If a mold infestation is found, you’ve just saved yourself a headache by not spreading it around. Then contact a professional trained in mold remediation to fix the problem location.

Mold and Water Damage

Mold and water damage go hand in hand. Any area that has been experiencing water damage is likely to have mold growth. Sometimes the location of the water damage is obvious but other times it can be hidden. One of the things to keep an eye, or should we say nose, out for are lingering musty smells with no obvious source. A damp or wet smell is also cause for concern.

Remediation begins with understanding what caused the mold in the first place. A thorough inspection should be performed by a professional. Any mold infestation carries the potential for serious health issues and needs to be contained properly with any items removed from the area being treated as bio hazardous materials.


Nature did not stop because of Covid-19 and with our lock downs and lack of activity nature has been able to push into and reclaim areas where it could not previously get a foothold. Infestation is a larger concern this year than most and if there is an odor that can’t be explained by water damage then an infestation inspection should be performed. The extended time has given everything from roaches to rats to bats and others time to proliferate in buildings they gained access to. This can be more than a nuisance. There can be everything from dead carcasses rotting behind walls to animal feces in unchecked areas. These present real dangers as bio hazardous material and need to be handled with caution prior to reopening.

Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is a premier provider of disaster recovery mitigation, environmental remediation, biohazard emergency response and HVAC inspection and cleaning in the New Jersey-Philadelphia area. IRS is certified by NADCA and have Certified Air Systems Cleaning Technicians and a Certified Ventilation System Inspector on staff. Services include mold removal, water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, flood damage cleanup, smoke damage remediation, and biohazard remediation. Insurance Restoration Specialists is led by Certified Industrial Hygienist Thomas Peter.