Actions for School Maintenance Staff
Preventive actions taken by the school maintenance staff can reduce asthma triggers:
- Some people with asthma are triggered by pollen. Keep pollen levels down by limiting grass and plant trimming to after hours, closing windows when pollen or pollution levels are high, and if possible, installing air conditioning in all classrooms. Click here to find an air quality index that is update hourly by Michigan's Dept. of Environmental Quality.
- Use cleaning solvents or fumigate when school is not in
session. Maintenance supplies may give off air contaminants during use
and storage. Products low in emissions are preferable. However, a
product that is low in emissions is not necessarily better if it
is more hazardous despite the lower emissions, if it has to be
used more often, or at a higher strength. Learn about your
maintenance supplies and identify precautions regarding effects on
indoor air or ventilation rates and requirements. Examples of
maintenance supplies that may contribute to indoor air quality (IAQ)
- Cleaning agents
- Cleaning classrooms on a regular basis helps to reduce the amount of dust and dirt in the school, including pollens and molds, which can cause allergic reactions.
- Install barrier floor mats at each school entrance to reduce the amount of dirt and dust in the school. Mats should be cleaned daily.
- Use high-efficiency vacuum bags that can retain dust
and particles in the 3 micron size range or smaller.
- Use a dust wiping technique that ensures the dust stays on the cloth. Avoid using a flicking motion when you wipe.
- Vacuum dust from heating, cooling, and ventilation air return grilles, air supply vents and ceiling and wall surfaces regularly to remove visible dust.
- Clean all flooring, including vinyl, wood, terrazzo, tile and carpet
daily. Remove spots and stains as soon as possible, using the
flooring manufacturer’s recommended techniques. Use care to
prevent excess moisture or cleaning residue accumulation, and
ensure that cleaned areas will dry quickly.
- Mold and mildew can grow almost anywhere that offers a food
source and a small amount of moisture, whether from leaks and
spills or condensation. Mold and mildew spark many allergic and asthmatic symptoms.
- Inspect the building for signs of moisture, leaks or
spills. Check for moldy odors, discoloration on ceilings, floors
or walls, and signs of water damage. Also, check cold surfaces,
such as under windows or in corners formed by exterior walls, and
areas where moisture is generated, such as locker rooms.
- Respond promptly to problems you find. Clean and dry
damp or wet building materials and furnishings. Work with
manufacturers of furnishings and building materials to learn
recommended cleaning procedures and/or identify competent
contractors who can clean damp materials.
- Prevent moisture condensation by adding insulation
near cold surfaces (piping, exterior walls, etc.), raising the
temperature of the air, improving air circulation in problem
areas, and decreasing the amount of water vapor in the air.
- Check regularly and use Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) methods to control for cockroaches, mice and other pests. Pests
can cause asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals.
- Do not rely on widespread use of pesticides to control pests.
- If pesticides are used outdoors, do not apply near
outdoor air intakes for the ventilation system, doors or open
windows. If unavoidable, shut down the affected ventilation
system(s) and remove occupants until application has been
completed and ventilation has been restored.
- Drain traps can cause IAQ problems when water in the drain
trap evaporates due to infrequent use. If the building interior is
under negative pressure, soil gas or sewer gas can be drawn
indoors through a dry drain trap.
- Make sure all drains have drain traps, and make sure
that all of the drains only you have access to are filled (pour
about a quart of water down once per week, run water in sinks once
- Check water in seldom-used toilets once each week, if low, flush.