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ServiceMaster Professional Services #4045

Posted in Insider Express |

Adjustor June 2015 Newsletter

Substitute TeacherBoy laughing

Walking through the hallways at the middle school where I work, I saw a new substitute teacher standing outside his classroom with his forehead against a locker.

I heard him mutter, “How did you get yourself into this?”

Knowing that he was assigned to a difficult class, I tried to offer moral support.

“Are you okay?” I asked. “Can I help?”

He lifted his head and replied, “I’ll be fine as soon as I get this kid out of his locker.”

Soda Machine

Julie was standing in front of a soda machine saying, “You are a dumb-looking button. You don’t have much of a future, either. People are going to be punching you all your life. Then you are going to be replaced by a much better-looking button.”

I foolishly asked what she was doing.

Julie pointed to the notice on the front of the machine, which said, “Depress button for ice.”


A doting father used to sing his little children to sleep until he overheard the four-year-old tell the three-year-old, “If you pretend you’re asleep, he stops.”


Why use Air-Scrubbers on a water loss? Air Scrubber

By Fred McGuire

Why do adjustors frequently see Air-Scrubbers used on a water loss?

Air-Scrubbers are often seen at fire restorations since the air is heavily contaminated for both the workers and the homes occupants.  Insurance adjustors should also use HEPA air scrubbers on all water losses.  Why?

Water losses, just like fires, create opportunities for several types of unseen air pollution.  Tiny particles such as mold and bacteria grow in wet indoor situations.  Water problems originating from clean sources can even trigger indoor air pollution.

How does this happen? Air movers produce a high volume of air at high velocity. When air movers are used to dry surfaces and other remediation activity occurs, contaminants are released into the air.  Once airborne, workers and homeowners can inhale them causing adverse health problems.  Air-Scrubbers will significantly reduce if not eliminate all types of air pollution.  They can also keep the dust in check throughout the process to reduce the costs of final cleanup.

These machines are filtration systems that remove mold, dust, gasses, and other airborne contaminants from the air to help improve indoor air quality.  Air-Scrubbers typically use fans to draw air through a series of filters to remove the contaminants and then release the filtered air back into the work area or are vented outside.

Air-Scrubbers have a first stage standard paper pre-filter that captures large particles, and a second-stage primary HEPA filter rated to capture 99.97% of remaining particles down to 0.3 microns.  This traps even the smallest mold spore and much more. Carbon filters can be used to absorb organic vapors, thereby reducing odor.

Again, using an Air-Scrubber during water clean-up removes particulates in the air generated by the remediation process, water moving through a structure and odors from the water contamination.  It also eases the customers mind about the clean-up process.  Often residents have respiratory issues that can be minimized by scrubbing the air especially if they are sensitive to allergens and air borne dust.

Using Air-Scrubbers will:

  1. Remove potentially harmful particles and pollutants from the air by scrubbing the air at least 5 times per hour.
  2. Lower job clean-up costs and the recontamination of clean areas.
  3. Provide negative air pressure (if needed) to avoid cross contamination in the structure.
  4. Remove foul odors and low levels of VOC’s.

Not scrubbing air can lead to higher clean-up costs, increased worker health issues and frequent homeowner complaints.  Even clean water sources pose the risk of releasing harmful particulates in the air and result in a happier, healthier property owner.

The Lack of Margin in Our Lives: Learning to Expect The UnexpectedMargin

By Fred McGuire

When demands appear to be greater than our resources, the result in our lives is stress. We feel stressed in different areas of life: finances, time, physical energy, emotional energy, and relational energy. Stress then displays itself in our lives in a variety of negative ways.

Some years ago, Dr. Richard Swenson wrote a book entitled, “Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives”. The concept of “margin” is that it is wise to leave space in our lives to deal with the unexpected or unplanned events in our lives therefore relieving stress. This is in contrast with our tendency to pack our schedule full. I have learned much from his writings.

The problem is – life does not occur without interruptions. If we plan and schedule our days and lives with no room for the “unexpected”, then the stress in our lives dramatically escalates when the “unexpected” occurs.

The odds of one of these things (both positive and negative) happening in the near future is very high:

  • Traffic/road construction delays
  • Computer or internet problems
  • One of your children gets sick
  • Weddings
  • Births
  • Car breakdown
  • Moving
  • Professional opportunities
  • A major client calls with a problem
  • Getting sick
  • Weather delays


Results of Living Without Margin

Results like: increased stress, irritability, tension, poor communication, relational conflict, being chronically late, missing important events, not being adequately prepared for meetings, poor quality work, frustration and anger, guilt, loss of sleep, depression.

How Do We Start to Change

Change starts with awareness and acceptance of a problem. Is this you or not? Be honest.

Next, look at your calendar for the next week and month. Are there any unscheduled blocks of time (during the work day, evenings, weekends) or is your calendar already packed?

In what arenas of your life do you tend to live “close to the edge”? With your time? Finances? Physical and emotional energy? Develop a plan to explore and correct the distortions you have.

Remember, we were not designed to live life under constant, unrelenting pressure.

* * * *

Note: This is one of those topics where I share some wisdom which I am still in the process of incorporating in my own life.

2015 Charity Golf EventsSM Cup Trophy

All events are to raise money for the Salvation Army. Donate $30/player to save your place in the event. Winning teams are invited to the ServiceMaster Cup Championship at Madden’s in the fall.

Sign up as a team of 4 or we will pair you up with others. Clients, friends or family are welcome.

July 31st @ Bunker Hills, 9 AM Start

August 6th @ Dacotah Ridge, 10 AM Start

Learn more at .


Fred McGuire2Continuing Education

$10/class for CE in 2015

Celebrating 10 years of CE, all 3 hour classes are now only $10! Attend two classes on any date in 2015 for six hours of CE will only cost you $20 and that includes lunch!

You will find two new classes for 2015 including a new “Framing our Ethics” and “Extreme Cleaning: Handling a Hoarding Dilemma” taught by instructor Fred McGuire.

Find the complete schedule on our website at

See you there.


Matt Paxton TeachingHandling a Hoarding Claim?

Many adjustors attended our recent special event featuring hoarding expert, Matt Paxton from the TV show “Hoarders”. With over 1,000 hoarding clean-ups under his belt, he had some great advice for all of us when faced with a claim in a hoarded house.

The following is an excerpt from Matt Paxton’s book, The Secret Lives of Hoarders.

When cleaning starts, hoarders tend to pick up and clutch items in their hands without putting them down. Pretty soon their arms and pockets start to fil up like they are a squirrel storing for the winter. They talk very fast and won’t look people in the eye. These are sure signs that anxiety is taking over. Someone having and anxiety attack simply can’t function.

Dealing with the anxiety is not necessarily the job of the cleanup crew, which is why it’s essential to have a trusted and empathetic advocate on call—a therapist, social worker, or clergyman—who is not involved in the physical cleanup. Depending on the severity of the hoarder’s anxiety, the cleanup may be halted briefly, or for a longer time if other professional and emotional support is needed.

Trying to power through the cleaning process with a hoarding having an anxiety attack will only make it worse. Ignoring these emotions and not listening to the hoarder could cause major issues down the road for the cleaning and the relationship.

Want a free copy Matt’s book or to borrow a copy? Email Fred McGuire at and you will get one.

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