AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
For Team ADAB, it’s no secret how hot and humid the climate is currently. The populous isn’t the only thing that’s feeling the effects from the heat.
Recently, a few ceiling tiles have fallen in one of the dorms here, and there was mold found on the backside of the ceiling drywall. While the amount of the mold isn’t enough to pose a health hazard to occupants of the dorm or to working personnel, Maj. Brian Shuler, 380th Expeditionary Medical Group bioenvironmental engineering officer-in-charge, wants people to be aware of what can cause it to form.
“If someone notices mold growing, they should do their best to assess why it’s there,” Shuler said. “Mold needs food and water. The food is the drywall, and there has to be water coming from somewhere. Is there standing water on the floor, or visible leakage from a shower, air conditioning unit, or dehumidifier? If that’s the case, they need to put in a work order to lodging directly.”
Along with making an assessment of the situation, residents are advised to know where to go if they feel or show symptoms from the possible exposure.
“If somebody thinks mold is contributing to an adverse health effect, such as running nose, itchy eyes or rashes, the clinic is available for walk-in,” Shuler said. “Come in and let one of our doctors access your condition, or they can give you some type of treatment to help mitigate your symptoms.”
Shuler mentioned the process of letting lodging know what’s going on. Dorm residents should notify lodging when they notice that ceiling and/or walls are showing signs of damage, such as sagging. Once they’re called, lodging puts in a work order for the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron to address the issue.
The 380th ECES is currently in the process of determining the scope of the issue and how to best address condensation, which they believe play a big part in the appearance of mold and the ceiling collapses. In the meantime, the squadron also asks for help from residents of the dorms.
“Condensation form when warm, moist air is cooled too much,” said Master Sgt. Stephane Beck, 380th ECES heavy repair superintendent. “Therefore, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units should not be set below 23 degrees Celsius, dehumidifiers should be empty at least twice a day, and broken/damaged exterior doors should be reported ASAP.”
Ultimately, the battle to keep the dorms functional and safe ties into one of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing’s mission priorities.
“Eliminating excessive moisture (condensation) will help in controlling the growth of the mold, and building occupants need to clean it up when it is discovered in order to limit the expansion of the growth,” Beck said. “The cleanup effort should be a standard recurring initiative and would ensure we leave ADAB better than when we got here!”