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Disaster recovery and restoration can be veiled in mystery to the many who have not undertaken specific training. This glossary explains technical terms to assist both report writing and the understanding of those technical terms so often misunderstood.


The Disaster Advice Glossary and its contents are the protected copyright of Disaster Advice

Tannin Bleeding

A paint or a sealer condition caused by the bleeding of natural dyes in wood. The predominate wood causing tannin bleeding are cedar fir and redwood. Tannin bleeding can occur on new and old wood when the wood is covered with a paint or sealer film.


Tape-Lift Sampling

Scotch tape lifts using clear tape directly placed onto a contaminate surface then transferred onto clean glass microscopic slide. After laboratory staining captured microscopic materials on the tape can be immediately analyzed under a microscope. Tape-lift sampling are referred to as sticky-tape sampling. See Air Sampling Adsorbent Sampling Bulk Material Sampling Smear Tabs Surface Sampling Swab Sampling Wipe Sampling Vacuum Sampling


Target Humidity Goals

The continuous preferred humidity in drying an atmosphere of a wet building or area. Education Note The target humidity goal for efficient drying of a wet building atmosphere is below 30-45%u0025 rh depending on building materials and their type of construction building configuration and utilization. In a severely wet building for example it is not unusual to set initial atmospheric target humidity goals around 20%u0025 rh to increase drying time and compensate for outside relative humidity influences. The increase of drying time will not cause cracking or building damage since standard commercial size refrigerant and refrigerant gas-bypass dehumidification equipment cannot operate effectively below the 20%u0025 rh range. Not providing for effective building drying has resulted in mold growth and a return or bounce-back of unwanted humidity when the drying equipment is turned off.


Tear Gas Exposures

Toxic gas exposures from police and riot-type tear gas. Health and Safety Note Seldom will emergency response water damage technicians come in contact with tear gas. But in several instances technicians have been asked to cleanup tear gas exposures with their cleanup equipment. No technician or adjuster should enter a tear-gas contaminated building without proper respiratory and skin protection. Health Note 1 Tear gas can effect technicians and adjusters from ingestion inhalation in nasal passages and absorption on skin. 2 Seldom is tear gas considered a medical emergency or a medical concern. 3 Yet depending on the type concentration and severity of exposure the health of the technician or adjuster the health concerns may result in a immediate medical emergency. 4 Skin and respiratory reaction to airborne tear gas is almost immediate. 5 CN/CS/CR/OC tear gases residue and powders are white in color. 6 CN/CS/CR tear gas are not-stable when heated. 7 Tear gas is generally dispersed as powder-like aerosols having a chemical dispersion reactivity to an environment from their explosion. 8 Once the agents have been dispersed into a building the agents react violently in the presence of humidity higher temperatures some oxidizers and a combination of factors. 9 All of the tear gas agents have low solubility in water but they can be dissolved in several organic solvents. Hydrolysis of CN tear gas for example is very low reacting in water solution even when alkali is added. On skin it is best to flush continuously with cold water. CS tear gas on the other hand is rapidly hydrolyzed in water solution having a half-life at pH 7 is about 15 min. at room temperature 65 to 70 %uF045F and 30 to 45%u0025 Rh and react extremely rapid when alkali is added half-life at pH 9 is about 1 min.. 10 As remediation technicians you must be extremely careful in adding alkali substances to skin since they can add to dermal discomfort and skin damage. Baking Soda sodium bicarbonate is best used as an adsorptive and cleaning agent on skin.


Technical Policy Decisions

The choices specific to the user claimant or insurance company agency or entity that are necessary to implement the Risk-Based Corrective Action framework described in the Standards Guide to meet the needs for a particular circumstance. Education Note General policy decisions are a building management issues while technical policy issues are building engineering and outside specialist issues. Technical policy decisions require decisions about regulatory compliance and regulatory policies and value judgements by contractors and engineers and outside specialists who have professional judgement to evaluate all available information. Engineering and environmental compliance and industrial hygiene specialists for example are able to support their claims with scientific notations to Standards and Guidelines along with sampling and analysis.


Temperature and Comfort

The acceptable level of indoor air temperature for occupant comfort. Temperature comfort varies throughout the day and during various activity periods from 65%u00B0 to 74%u00B0F.


Temporary Containment of a Building

The containment of a building that is damaged or has the potential to become effected by an event. The term temporary containment of a damaged building is the closure of the building by sealing it off to further damage or loss of property. For example is a windstorm that removes the roof exposing the building interior and its contents. a fire that burns the roof and blows out the windows a tornado that tears off a portion of the building.


Temporary Containment of Contents

The containment of contents that have been damaged or through secondary damage they will be affected at some point. For example contents in a sewage contaminated environment must be contained and removed from the sewage backflow. Contents must be removed cleaned and sanitized then contained in a clean area that was not effected by the sewage. The temporary containment of contents often become necessary during a fire earthquake or catastrophic event.


Temporary Humidity Control

The process and equipment necessary for controlling or reducing humidity for a period of time.


Temporary Shelters

The modular installation or building of closures for either people material or equipment. Sometimes existing structures are modified as temporary shelters.



A disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. It is a serious central nervous system disorder resulting in lock-jaw and it is sometimes fatal. Tetanus as a spore lives mainly in soil and manure it is found in the human intestine and elsewhere. Contractor and Technician Note Tetanus is found in sewage and therefore it can be found in sewage damaged buildings on splinters of wood nails and metal tack strips used for retaining wall to wall carpet. The splinters of wood nails and metal tack strips are excellent materials for puncture wounds introducing the tetanus bacteria.


Tetanus Vaccination

A vaccination inoculation which protects employees from the tetanus bacterium. Health and Safety Note Employers are mandated to offer and give employees the vaccination if employees are coming in contact with potential tetanus contaminated materials. The tetanus inoculation is good for approximately every ten years and it must be renewed. Usually booster a vaccination are given after an exposure.


Thermal Imaging

The process of scanning through the use of thermal imaging equipment. Thermal scanners are capable of identifying an energy loss area in a building or identify a building defect.



A portable gas engine machine dispersing solvents and water-base chemicals in air from 0.05 to 10.0 microns in size. Education Note Thermal foggers have been used successfully millions of times for the control and neutralization of various smoke and carbon-based odours from fires Some persons have tried to use thermal foggers and chemicals for water damage remediation more specifically mold fungi and bacteria abatement. So far there are no scientific studies which indicate thermal fogging machines techniques or associated chemicals can reduced or eliminated toxic fungi or pathogenic bacteria. Note Gas-engine thermal foggers are not to be confused with electric thermal foggers. Electric thermal foggers hand-held pot-type do not disperse solvent particles smaller than 10 microns in size.


Thermalgraphic Chart Recorders/Sensors

In a water damaged building the use of thermal temperature and humidity graphic chart recorders and sensors to scientific document and measure the amount of humidity temperature and dew point of an environments atmosphere at any one time during the building dry-down process. Restorative Drying Note Thermalgraphic recorders are remote pen-chart recorders having temperature and humidity recording pens. Thermalgraphic recording devises include electronic temperature and humidity data logging sensors. Education Note For example to scientifically document the dry-down process of a wet building and the influences placed on the drying of the building from outside and environmental influences with a degree of accuracy no less than 4 thermalgraphic recorders or data logging sensors are necessary for an average 1600 square feet of wet building. 1 outside as a control 1 in a dry area farthest from the flood and 2 in the flooded are. Author Note Our company mitigating a flooded having 1600 square feet of wet floor space and walls EME would use an average of 6 to 8 thermalgraphic measuring devises. One for each wet room and several plugged into wet wall cavities especially those having sheer walls fire walls double drywall enamel-base paint wall paper or paneling. See Performance Humidity Curve


Thermaline TM Vacuum Freeze-Drying

A trademark name and patented process of Document Reprocessors. The Thermaline patented process has to do with vacuum freeze-drying of wet documents along with the drying of the treated materials freeze-drying chamber with heat. Education Note By placing wet documents into a vacuum chamber and applying a freeze-drying process then through the use of controlled heat the thermal drying process causes the vacuum freeze-drying process water/ice to vaporize from treated documents film blue prints photographs computer disks to audio-video tapes. The resulting vapour in the chamber is quickly removed by specially designed vacuum pumps that exhausts the chambers steam to an outside atmosphere. For more information contact Document Reprocessors on the US west coast at 800/437-9464 and on the US east coast at 888/437-9464 or www.documentreprocessors.com. See Document Reprocessors


Thin set

A type of cementitious material used in the installation of ceramic tile marble and slate. Restorative Drying Note Thin set is usually very stable when confronted by a water damage. The issues for thin set and other cementitious materials is not the thin set itself it is the substrate base material they are placed on. Education Note In water damaged buildings where the subfloor is wood and it is not a concrete slab wood subfloors and underlayments tend to swell since they cannot easily dry out on their own. Thin set and the tile floor combined becomes a vapour barrier that does not allow the subfloor or underlayment to breathe and dry. Hopefully there is a basement or crawlspace where special techniques for drying and dehumidifying the subfloor and underlayments can be accomplished. If not quite often the trapped moisture can cause delamination of the plies of plywood or the release of the bond between the thin set and the tile.


Thirty-Year Erosion Setback

A state or local requirement that prohibits new construction and certain improvements and repairs to existing coastal buildings located in an area anticipated to be lost to shoreline retreat over a 30-year period.


Tier-1 Evaluation

A-risk-based analysis utilizing non-site-specific corrective action goals for complete and potentially complete direct and indirect human exposure pathways and qualitative screening evaluation. The non-site-specific corrective action goals developed for human exposure pathways are based on conservative assumptions e.g. exposure factors and methodologies e.g. standards of care and assumptions to estimate the non-site-specific values based on available information. The exposure sources and pathways assume that the risk and exposure and the source are all located in the same location. The non-site-specific correction action goals for complete and potentially complete exposure pathways and source control are based on similar models and instances having like-kind situations potentially requiring like-kind problem solving administrative and engineering controls. See Phase I


Tier-2 Evaluation

A risk-based analysis that involves an incremental refinement of the Tier-1 methodology to develop site-specific corrective action goals. The Tier-2 evaluation for human exposure pathways may include developing statistically representative concentrations of chemicalss toxins and biological agents of concern for comparison to the Tier-1 corrective action goals. By applying the direct exposure pathway corrective action goals established under Tier-1 evaluation at site-specific determination points of exposure it may be possible to develop corrective actions for direct and indirect exposures. Besides the model of Tier-1 Tier-2 evaluations may involve qualitative and quantitative analysis. The corrective action goals for complete and potentially complete exposure pathways are compared to the site conditions to determine if further correction is warranted. See Phase II


Tier-3 Evaluation

A risk-based analysis risk-based assessment that involves a significant incremental effort over the Tier-2 evaluation to develop site-specific corrective action goals. The Tier-3 evaluation for human exposures pathways typically use advanced exposure assessment toxicity and risk assessment screening techniques for example probable and most likely exposure assessment methods use of bio-availability data use of advanced fate and transportation models allowing maximum flexibility of the site-specific target levels SSTL for potential direct and indirect exposure pathways at the points of exposure based on site-specific conditions. Tier-3 requires statistical models before during and after corrective action of the source and exposure pathways along with clearance methods and analysis. See Phase III IV and V


TIME Temporal Indoor Monitoring and Evaluation Study

An EPA recommended process for gathering information using a Temporal Indoor Monitoring and Evaluation Study for determining building performance or IAQ base-lines or when indoor air problem solving is necessary. See BASE


Time and Material

One acceptable job calculation and billing method of the charges of a job. The charges usually include the man-hours and a labor rate subcontractor charges material costs rental equipment costs dump and disposal fees and after tabulation the addition of an acceptable overhead and profit.


Time Indicator

Also called Time-Location Multiplier which is a time translation used to indicate base building costs calculated back to a particular point in time.



Any number of a group of common fungal infections of the skin hair toenails feet hands groin arm pits and fingernails. Most infections are caused by a group of fungi called the dermatophytes which are called ringworm. The transmitter of the tinea fungi are soil contaminated water infection acquired from another person or animal and objects such as dirty shower stalls and carpet. See Athletes Foot Fingernail Fungus Ringworm


Tinea Fungi Infections

Tinea pedis affects the feet and it is commonly referred to as Athletes Foot Fungus Tinea cruris affects the groin and it is called jock itch Tinea corporis affects the body and it is called ringworm of the body Tinea capitis affects the scalp and it is called ringworm of the scalp Tinea unguium or onychomycosis affects the fingernails and is called ringworm of the nails Tinea unguium can also be found on the hands and feet Tinea versicolor is a common skin condition that produces patches of white brown or salmon-color finely flaking skin over the trunk and neck. Health Note The main prevention of the Tinea Fungi Infections on the job is maintaining good personal hygiene washing and using a scrub brush under the nail beds thorough drying of damp wet and sweaty hands and feet wearing proper protective clothing and gloves and the daily use of a fungistat foot powder. See Athletes Foot Fingernail Fungus Ringworm Tinea


TLV Threshold Limit Value

The daily 8 hour concentration of gases and particulates for which workers can be safely exposed to on a daily basis. Education Note TLVs refer to airborne concentrations of substances chemicals in the form of vapors to particulates in the form of respirable particles for example and they represent conditions under which it is believed that nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed day after day without adverse health effects. Because of the wide variation in individual susceptibility however a small percentage of workers may experience discomfort from some substances at concentrations at or below the threshold limit and the value given for a particular substances. A smaller percentage of workers may be affected more seriously by aggravation of a pre-existing health condition or by development of an occupational illness. Cigarette smoking for example may act to enhance the biological effects of chemicals encountered in the workplace and smokers may experience a reduced immune system inhibiting the bodys defense mechanisms against such toxic substances. A few individuals may also be hyper-susceptible or otherwise unusually responsive to some chemicals including industrial chemicals because of pre-disposed genetic factors age personal habits e.g. smoking drugs alcohol medication or previous exposures. Such workers may not be adequately protected from adverse health effects from certain chemicals at concentrations below the TLV.


TLV-TWA Threshold Limit Value - Time Weighted Average

The time-weighted average concentration for a conventional 8-hour workday and 40-hour workweek exposure to a substance to which it is believed that nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed day after day without adverse health effects.



In water and sewage damage remediation tolerance is the ability of living microorganisms to resist their usually anticipated stress. While under stress some Gram-negative organisms protect them selves through multiplication or they will go dormant until more desirable environmental conditions are present.


Tort Law

Tort As per Webster Desk Dictionary a wrongful act damage or injury done willfully negligently or in circumstances involving strict liability for which a civil suit can be brought. Tort claims cases are not new they go back to the common law of England before the 1700. Legal and Liability Note Common law today has greatly changed and covers many areas of public law. Tort laws protecting the public are growing daily as new court decisions are being made across our country. Most tort suits are brought by plaintiffs who are seeking damage from personal injury negligence strict liability product liability and misrepresentation. Persons not suffering tangible injuries at this time are now suing for fear of future damages for increased risk of personal injury or property damage. The term environmental laws are being entered as a new language in our vocabulary especially now that we are trying to cure some of the 200 years of wrongs of Western industry. Asbestos lead Legionaries Disease pesticides toxic chemicals and hazardous waste are a few mentioned in being this new vocabulary of items which we are to stay away from. Now being added to your vocabulary is tort claims which are part of every business persons responsibility to understand. Contractor Note Water damage odor control and restoration contractors are now being sued for neglect wrongful damage and misrepresentation.


Total Loss

Damage to an object or material sufficient enough to consider it beyond repair based on its value or function compared to its salvage value replacement cost value or cost of repair.



Chemical biological gas and vapours that can cause acute or chronic damage to human biological tissue and the immune system.


Toxic Air Contaminates

Airborne contaminates including gases vapours fumes mists spores and other aeroallergens which when inhaled become toxic to the human respiratory blood and central nervous system. Health Note When you breathe in vapours fumes and other contaminates they immediately enter the blood stream through your respiratory system causing poisoning. This is why you must never stick your head into a confined space to check it out without proper respiratory protection.



Microorganisms which produce poisonous toxins. Some toxins are recognized by smell from the out-gas of their reproduction cells cell parts and spores. See Neurotoxins


Trained Employee

An employee who has met all of the company qualifications to become fully trained in one or more specific job task. Education Note A trained employee in many industries must carry a current registration certification or operator card to operate certain types of machinery or to complete specific tasks in accordance with the certification training.


Transition Layer

The upper most layer of a material. Education Note In concrete slabs the transition layer is the outer most wear layer as well as the first half inch of concrete layer on an average. The transition layer has most of the moisture vapor before moisture as a gas turns back to moisture as a vapor measured by relative humidity. The transition layer of concrete slab on or below grade will more than likely have rH readings from 80 to 99%u0025.



In water damage remediation it is the extraction equipment an extraction machine having a holding tank hose and wand located on a truck or van. Education Note A truckmount extraction machine has the capability of controlling and extracting large amounts of standing water from a flooded building. A truckmount unit can also deliver fresh water and detergent chemicals for the purpose of warm or hot water washing of building surfaces and contents. c Most truckmounts can be used as pressure washing equipment. d The truckmount vehicle is a self-contained unit having its own power it eliminates the use of drawing electrical power from a building.


Turbidity Air Currents

As wet buildings are concerned Restorative Drying Note The process of taking saturated wet building materials with dynamic air and vaporizing moisture into the air through advection. One accepted method is to use turbo fans 2000 cfm fans or greater forced across wet building materials that will release static-trapped moisture to an airborne vapor state. c Turbo fans are to be placed in such a manner as to create a cyclone effect in a room. d The use of dehumidifiers is almost always necessary to reduce the increased humidity rapidly. See Advection Cyclone Effect Dehumidification Dynamic Pressure Eddy Current Static Pressure



A trademarked drying system. Restorative Drying Note A Trademarked machine by Dri-Eaz that introduces forced air into wall cavities for the purpose of drying wet wall cavities within an acceptable drying period. The difference between the TurboVent and its competitors the manufacturer states it is multi-purpose and the TurboVent can dramatically reduce wall ceiling and floor drying time. See Injectidry Wallintruder


Turnkey Service

A full service provider. A contractor that is able to provide multi-level services and expertise to eliminate all damage and/or restore a property back to its pre-loss condition On the emergency side consultation site and damage assessment cost estimates emergency service board-up structural repair engineering plan approval temporary relocation job site monitoring and clearance testing with certification. On the restoration side provide all of the necessary subcontractors and materials required to restore a property.


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