SERVPRO Leads The Industry In Biohazard Cleanup
Dissecting Biohazard Cleanup: Understanding the Process and Reducing Risk
By Tim Reifsteck
When compared to a fire or water loss, property damage resulting from a suicide, murder or unattended death poses greater risk and complexity for the adjuster, the biohazard cleanup company, and of course, the policyholder. Many cleaning and restoration companies will offer bioremediation services, but only those that specialize in this area, like SERVPRO truly understand the science and intricacies of the bioremediation and decontamination process. In order to minimize risk for the insurance carrier and ensure the safety of the policy holder, it’s important to realize the inherent challenges of bioremediation and the processes and standards that every biohazard cleanup professional must adhere to.
Am I liable for an improper biohazard cleanup?
At some point in their careers, insurance professionals may have experienced sticker shock from a bioremediation claim. How could the biohazard cleanup of a single room cost more than recovering an entirely flooded home? It might be tempting to retain a trusted property damage restoration company at a lower cost, but doing so may put the insurer at risk for a lawsuit.
Consider a recent case where a general cleaning company was hired to sanitize a home after 600 pounds of deer meat rotted in a family’s garage due to a power outage. Following the cleaning, the homeowners reported that the rotting stench still remained throughout the house and that some family members became ill. Experts who were brought in to investigate the situation determined that the enduring smell and sickness resulted from inefficiencies in the cleaning process, such as the failure to seal concrete surfaces.
Why is bioremediation so complex?
Many biohazard situations pose grave health risks to policy holders and cleanup companies because of the potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens. One out of every 24 people has Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV and these pathogens can survive in a deceased person for a considerable amount of time – up to 16 days after death, depending on the temperature and surrounding environment. Exposure to bloodborne viruses can occur due to direct contact with non-intact skin, accidental injury from biological fragments, inhalation and exposure from splashes of blood or bio fluid to the eyes, nose, or mouth. Considering the health risks, bioremediation specialists must follow stringent employee safety regulations and meticulous decontamination procedures that most cleanup crews are not accustomed to.
Separately, biohazard situations can lead to hidden dangers that an average property restoration technician might not even consider. For example, in a water damage emergency, floor boards and drywall might be removed because they are visibly warped and unsalvageable. Then the rest of the structure can be dried out. In contrast, blood can seep through grout and in-between floorboards, even through subflooring. There is no other way to clean the damage but to remove all affected materials – if new wood floors are installed over the blood spill or if tiles are simply wiped down, the remaining bio matter can spread disease, release odors and further damage the property.
How do I evaluate a bioremediation provider?
To determine whether or not a company is qualified to handle a biohazard situation, insurance professionals need a deeper understanding of proper bioremediation standards and what it takes to fully decontaminate a property. These are the key things to inquire about when choosing a vendor for a biohazard cleanup:
OSHA Compliance – These regulations are in place to protect the biohazard company employees and to prevent injury and potential liability for all involved. All supervisors and field technicians should be trained in the following OSHA programs: Bloodborne Pathogens, Personal Protective Equipment, Hazard Communication, Asbestos Awareness, Heat Illness, Fall Protection, Lift Safety, Lock Out – Tag Out, and Power Tool Safety. A common misstep among restoration companies is that they only comply with the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standards, instead of all the aforementioned areas.
EPA and State Environmental Agency Compliance – The disposal of medical waste must be in accordance with federal, state and/or local regulations. Not all biohazard remediation companies are licensed to transport or store medical waste so it’s essential to understand if/how they comply with the local and national standards. The cleaning company can incur hefty fines if medical waste is not disposed of properly. Also, employees need to be trained in the proper use of cleaning agents – this can be more complicated than it seems, as many agents will become inactive if not measured and diluted properly.
Reporting/Testing – A reputable company should be able to deliver a detailed report which catalogs every step of the cleanup process. This should include photos of the entire process as well, so the policy holder and adjuster understand why some structural materials needed to be removed, what was disposed, why the employees went through a certain amount of protective equipment, etc. They should also have equipment available to check for non-visible but active biological fluids and other contaminants so that it is certain when an area is considered disinfected.
Sensitivity Training – Dealing with a flood or fire can be extremely traumatic, but it does not compare to the loss of loved one. During these traumatic situations, the family members often stay at home so it is imperative that the workers in their home are compassionate and considerate. The biohazard cleanup specialists at SERVPRO understand the need for the family to deal with only one point person in order to avoid confusion or conflicting updates. They have been trained to eliminate alarming language from their vocabulary and speak empathetically with the policyholder.
When it comes to biohazard remediation, there is no quick solution. The fact that there are no laws protecting policy holders through a biohazard cleaning process puts the responsibility on the insurance carrier to work with bioremediation specialists who follow strict safety standards and cleanup procedures. If the insurance carrier directs the cleanup process and even one of the above points is neglected, they might be held liable for any further health and property damages resulting from the improper cleanup. It is important to remember that you can’t put a price tag on the peace of mind that a policy holder needs after a traumatic crime or death occurred in their home or place of business.
Locally Owned Company with Valuable Resources
As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne is strategically located to respond quickly to your water damage emergency and your mold cleanup. When there is mold in a home or business, we have the resources and personnel to help get your home or business back together. Call us today at (260) 255-6271!
Information provided by: http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2013/10/22/238753.htm
Your Local SERVPRO Handles The Toughest Rain and Flood Conditions
Although no one can stop the rains, there are ways to limit flooding in your home. Overland flooding or backups due to overwhelmed storm sewage systems are but two of the sources of floodwaters in the lower levels of your home. Regardless of the source of the water, we have the technicians and the equipment to help you recover.
Even though the water causing flood damage to your home may be drawing your eyes down as it seeps into the foundation or lower levels, the problem often is at the roofline. Clogged gutters and damaged downspouts cause water to pound down near the perimeter of your home, saturating the soil and ultimately invading through the slab, poured, or cinder block foundation. We can respond to and restore the damage but expect suggestions from our managers or production crew to minimize or even eliminate future flooding.
The grading and landscaping around your home can also contribute to the seepage of floodwaters into the foundation. Over time even correctly graded ground can erode and shift, encouraging rainwater to drain into your home rather than away from it. SERVPRO crews also see scenarios where plantings surrounding your home contribute to excess water moving into the porous materials making up the base and protecting the lower levels of your house. Irrigation systems or merely an overdone watering of foundation gardens have the unhappy result of a wet home.
SERVPRO evaluates the characteristics of the water flooding into your home to determine whether it needs to be contained and disposed of according to local regulations. The sooner you get our team to your home the more likely that the water checks out as Category 1. If the soil around your home is loose, dirt particles can flow in with the water. Lawn chemicals, fertilizers, and even pet wastes can taint the water, requiring careful handling. Gutter overflow can also contain bird and animal waste and mold, threatening the flooded area with microbial growth if not disinfected and dried out after the flood water evacuates.
Submersible pumps and water extractors pull most of the flood water out of your home. If Category 1 we can drain it outside, but take care to deposit far from the house to prevent it from flooding again. We use moisture meters and infrared scanners to locate hidden pockets of moisture and to set a baseline for drying goals. SERVPRO crews position air movers, heaters, and dehumidifiers to dry out the affected space. The moisture numbers are monitored to ensure we achieve standard levels.
The team at SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne has the necessary training and experience to remediate seepage-based flooding. Do not hesitate to call us if we can help!
Why SERVPRO Is Your Best Choice For Commercial Restoration
There's nothing quite as difficult for a commercial establishment as dealing with water damage. However, knowing what to do when disaster strikes can prevent you from experiencing unnecessary emotional upsets for yourself, your employees, and your customers and mitigate the economic strain of lost business. There are many steps you'll need to take to get your commercial property back in order following a water damaging event. Contacting a team of skilled water damage restoration experts from SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne is a good first step.
Quick Water Removal Mitigates Monetary Loss
The longer excess water remains on your commercial property, the more likely you are to suffer from costly water damage repairs to structural properties like ceiling tiles, insulation, drywall, and flooring. Then there is the concern of water damage to your capital investments: inventory, furniture, carpeting, electronic equipment and paper documents. Having a team of skilled water damage restoration experts like SERVPRO to begin immediately removing standing water can prevent you from spending unnecessary money on repairs.
Quick Remediation Prevents Secondary Water Damage.
Another benefit of a quick reaction to the pressing problem of water intrusion is that fast extraction helps prevent secondary water damage. Unfortunately, water damage creates a moist, wet environment within your business. Moisture and high humidity offer mold an opportunity to grow and spread throughout structural materials and wood furniture and fabrics. If your business deals with food distribution, high inventory loss may be a costly negative effect. For this reason, it's critically important to have standing water removed as quickly as possible. SERVPRO can arrive, usually in about one hour, with water removal equipment to meet any problem.
Fast Restoration Helps You Get Back In Business
If the water intrusion, by way of a storm, flood, leak, or the aftermath of fire extinguishing causes severe water damage to your commercial business, you may have to relocate temporarily while water damage restoration work is being completed. Closed doors affect customer traffic, employee earnings, and your bottom line. Insurance companies normally work hand-in-hand with SERVPRO to come to a working agreement allowing the water extraction process to commence immediately.
Contact SERVPRO Today
If your commercial property has been subjected to water damage, getting fast, effective water damage restoration services is a must. Here at SERVPRO, we specialize in optimizing and expediting each component of the restoration process to ensure that you can get your business back in business. Moreover, each of our IICRC-Certified technicians will provide you with the personable care and excellent customer service that keeps you in the loop throughout the water damage restoration process. We can quickly reopen your doors like it never even happened.
Commercial Building Restoration Services
SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne responds quickly to a water or fire, or mold damage emergency, 24 hours a day. Whether the damage occurs in a small business building or a big box store, we have the training, experience, and equipment to handle the situation. Our national network of 1,650 Franchises gives us access to personnel and resources. Call us for assistance today!
Generator Safety During A Storm
A generator can be a life-send during a storm as long as it is used safely and properly.
If you have a generator on hand for power outages during severe weather storms, follow the safety tips below from the American Red Cross:
Never use a generator, grill or camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
Opening doors or windows and using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. Although CO can’t be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death.
Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home or property and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
If your home or business suffers from any type of storm damage, call SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne and we will send a professional out to assist with getting your property back to its original state as soon as possible.
Protecting Yourselves And Your Home During A Storm
Heavy rains or extreme storms can drop thousands of gallons of water on your yard over the course of a winter season, potentially leaving behind outside flooding or overflowing drainage in their wake. Therefore, it’s important to prepare for any intense rainstorm by finding ways to properly divert rain drainage away from your property. Here are three ways to use your outdoor landscaping to protect your home from the brunt of oncoming excess water and keep it outside where it belongs.
1. Be creative with your mulch. If you’ve created any garden or plant beds around the exterior of your home, there are preventative measures you can take to effectively ward off flooding issues. Use heavier mulch that absorbs more of the water within itself as opposed to allowing it to run toward the walls of the house. Furthermore, it’s best to leave a 6-inch gap between your mulch and siding so that any excess water doesn’t wick up and into the exterior siding of your home.
2. Direct rainwater spouts away from the house. In the event of a rainstorm, your drainage spouts work to keep water flowing freely off of your roof and away from your exterior paneling. However, it’s important to extend these downspouts as much as possible to keep any outside flooding from building right next to your home.
3. Use grass or rock formations as barriers. If your family has experienced countless flooding problems in your basement, cellar or even surrounding your doorways, it helps to create a landscaping barrier in areas that are prone to excess water buildup. Incorporate added grass to help absorb and block, or enhance the space with a decorative rock path to break up the runoff and keep it from collecting.
While outside flooding isn’t always preventable, there are certainly ways to help prevent excess water from building around the exterior of your home. These three methods can be useful in safeguarding your property without taking away from the beauty of your landscape. For more information give your Fort Wayne Storm Experts a call at (260) 255-6271.
What To Do After Experiencing Fire Damage
Fire damage can happen fast and leave significant damage.
After experiencing fire damage, there are specific professional services which can help to lower the costs of a claim. Restoration services work towards reducing the number of replacements which may be necessary after such incidents. If you live in Fort Wayne, apart from being prepared to counter such situations, knowing your options counts and there is every reason to treat such issues with the urgency they deserve.
Let us begin by understanding the underlying cleaning principles that our SERVPRO technicians employ when dealing with fire damage in Fort Wayne. When we are working for you, we always aim to return the materials to their preloss state, and we start off by inspecting the area and locating the smoke residues. When carrying out the inspection, we begin from the place where the fire originates from and analyze how far the smoke particles have moved.
After locating the smoke residues, it is time to identify the kind of smoke residues at the site. Given that fire consumes different types of materials, there is a possibility of finding a number of smoke particles within the same location. That helps our SERVPRO technicians to choose a suitable cleaning procedure. Before the cleaning process starts, it is equally important to identify the surface type. While some surfaces can allow abrasive cleaning methods, some area can deteriorate further if we subject them to such cleaning methods.
Certain restoration cases require move-outs before the restoration starts. Our SERVPRO team readily moves your items to a remote location if such a process is likely to protect your contents from further damage.
Odors are a big challenge after a fire, and our team performs deodorization to neutralize the smells. To spread the deodorants, we may either use thermal foggers or ULV (Ultra Low Volume) Foggers. This equipment can also apply disinfectants and fungicides which help prevent chances of bacteria and fungi growth.
SERVPRO of North Ft. Wayne is a proven leader in fire, mold, storm, and water damage restoration. Call us today at (260) 255-6271 when you need us to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Tips To Help Prevent A Fire
There are some steps you can take to help prevent common causes for house fires
Many house fires are preventable with basic fire preparation measures and safety precautions. Any open flames or heating elements can pose a fire risk. Here are four simple ways to avoid starting a fire.
1. Don't Smoke Inside
Cigarettes remain one of the most common home fire causes. This is particularly the case when a smoker lights up in bed or after taking medicine that causes fatigue. Avoid smoking around medical oxygen. Completely extinguish cigarettes in a stable ashtray or a container filled with sand, and keep an extinguisher on the premises for fire preparation.
2. Don't Light Candles
Unattended candles are another common cause of house fires. These fires often start in the bedroom, after someone lights an open flame and falls asleep. Children or pets may also knock over a lit candle or put combustible materials close to the flame. Try a flameless alternative such as an electrical candle or wax warmer to provide mood lighting or fragrance.
3. Use Space Heaters Safely
Maintain three feet of space between a space heater and bedding, curtains, or upholstered furniture. Operate heaters on a level, non-flammable surface and don't leave them running unattended. Choose a heater with an automatic safety shut-off, ground fault circuit interrupter plug, and a sturdy cord that is at least six feet long.
3. Clean Out Dryer Lint
Empty the lint filter after every load and use a firm-bristled brush to remove impacted lint every six months. Check for buildup behind the dryer every two weeks, and snake out the vent pipe every three months. Schedule a professional cleaning if clothes start taking longer to dry.
These fire preparation and prevention methods can increase the level of fire safety in your home. If a fire does break out and your house sustains damage, contact your local fire restoration experts at SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne.
Cold Weather Is Around The Corner
Space Heaters can start a fire quickly
Stay safe this winter by plugging space heaters into outlets, never into extension cords or power strips. When using a heater that requires a secondary fuel source such as kerosene take extra care when filling the heater and always store your extra fuel in an approved container in a different location.
SERVPRO was called out at 4:30am to a home that fire fighters battled a blaze that started from a kerosene space heater. It was estimated that the fire started around 1:00am. The only occupant was able to safely leave her residence without issue. Once the fire was extinguished SERVPRO arrived to secure the property and begin the clean up process. Fire investigators determined the cause of the blaze was started when a stack of news papers fell against the space heater. A situation such as this is completely avoidable by following the manufactures operating instructions regarding safe distances to near objects.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
For more safety tips, restoration advice and information about our great city, visit the SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne Facebook Page.
We Are A Professional Fire Restoration Company
When a fire disaster strikes, you need the assistance of certified fire restoration professionals.
Many folks today take on tasks as do-it-yourself projects, learning from videos and classes at home improvement stores. Although a DIY approach works for many minor remodeling jobs, landscaping, and the like, fire damage recovery is a job for trained experts. The staff at SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne have the education, experience, and equipment to restore your home safely and completely after a fire.
After a fire damages your Fort Wayne home, it is crucial that all steps deemed necessary by the restoration industry be completed fast. The longer fire damage stands without abatement, the more likely it is that permanent harm to structures, contents, and air quality may make part or all of a home dangerous to inhabit. Our team trains to Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) standards, the benchmarks for safe and efficient procedures to return your home to preloss condition.
Our staff will react within hours of your call and arrive with all equipment and specialized products necessary on board our full-service trucks. SERVPRO sends a crew large enough to begin and complete a full-scale fire damage cleanup swiftly before the acid residues of ashes and soot deteriorate building structures, fixtures, and your belongings. The technicians assess for safety first and then design a comprehensive plan that includes cleaning, sealing, and odor removal. Often both chemical and water damage from the firefighting efforts are part of the restoration package. Some structures may be too charred to be restored, and decisions to remove and replace need evidence transmitted to your insurance company to limit your out of pocket costs. We work with you and your insurer.
The technicians we send are proficient in the use of professional grade equipment, certified and experienced. A homeowner trying to accomplish the same with rental steamers or carpet cleaners risks making the situation worse. SERVPRO employees also assess hidden areas, such as your HVAC system and recesses between and behind walls, under floors, and above ceilings for damage. Even small amounts of fire damage left unabated allow smells to linger and deteriorate the structures attached to them or items near them.
Odor elimination is a particularly complex skill set. Covering up with air fresheners is ineffective and deludes you temporarily that all necessary cleanup is complete. SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne has odor elimination specialists on staff who use a range of strategies to neutralize odors for good.
A fresh smelling, fully restored home is the result when SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne takes on your fire damage restoration. Call (260) 255-6271 immediately after the firefighters leave to get the process started.
Emergency Tarps During Storms
Getting a tarp on a roof fast is essential during a storm.
Severe storms can cause damages to your roof leaving your home or business vulnerable to water damage. SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne has 24 hour emergency service. and is in the Greater Fort Wayne area to address the damages. Our emergency service team is equipped to handle property assessment, temp. roof repair (tarping), debris clean-up, water clean-up, and structure/water dry-out.
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
If you experience wind and storm damage to your home or business, contact SERVPRO of North Fort Wayne at (260) 255-6271 to save your home or business.