How to Keep Your Business Safe After Opening

Last time on the BIOClean Team blog we talked about the necessary steps and precautions to take in order to reopen your business amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With many state and local governments beginning the process of reopening and adjusting to the new normal, it’s important to consider not just how to reopen but how to do it right. This time on the blog, what critical steps your business can take to keep everyone safe.

Keeping The Business (and Employees and Customers) Safe

Proper Precautions

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. If you read our last blog you likely already know some of the necessary precautions to take to keep people safe, but it bears repeating.

To keep everyone safe, promote the correct, increased healthy hygiene standards. Require face masks, install plastic guards to protect customers and employees where necessary. Train staff on the new safety protocols, in this case, ignorance is not bliss! 

Continued Monitoring

With the proper precautions in place, work is resuming. Now it moves to the monitoring and maintenance phase.

Some businesses are implementing monitoring measures like checking temperatures of anyone entering the building. These efforts may seem excessive but they were effectively used elsewhere in flattening the curve, and if the business has the means to do so (and knows how to effectively store the information gathered etc.) it may be one worth considering.

Other measures to take:

  • Encourage employees who are sick to stay home 

It doesn’t matter what they are sick with, employees shouldn’t be coming in to work ill. The stress it can cause alone is enough to disrupt an otherwise safe workplace.

  • Plan for when an employee gets sick 

People will be sick. Have an understood plan of what actions to take and when to ensure that the employee is safe, and the rest of the office is protected from possible exposure.

  • Have flexible leave policies and practices 

While encouraging employees to stay home when ill, it might do little good if employees don’t have a flexible absence and sick day policy in place during this time. Be open and clear with employees about the nature of sick days and leave policies to ensure no one risks anyone else’s health.

  • Regularly communicate with local authorities and employees 

Stay on top of the changing regulations and recommendations. Communicate those with employees to ensure everyone understands the situation.

  • Be ready to close if there are increased cases

The most important part of monitoring is being ready to take the necessary actions when monitoring and cleaning aren’t working, or there is an increase in cases. Have a plan in place, decide on triggers that will start that plan, and act when the need arises. Ensure employees understand the plan.

Create and Implement Higher Standards of Cleaning

Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure. But you can do more! The EPA has approved a number of disinfectants to be used against COVID-19 and reduce the risk. It’s not enough to take a one and done approach, frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is crucial.

If you do not have access to any EPA-approved disinfectants (call us!) you can use a mix of a third cup bleach to a gallon of water. DO NOT mix bleach or other cleaning products together, they can cause hazardous fumes that are incredibly dangerous.

Full CDC Cleaning Recommendations Can Be Found Here.

Continuously keeping a sanitized workspace is critical. If one person gets sick and brings the virus into work, it is immediately risky for everyone else. Up your sanitization strategy, and if you need the extra assistance, give The BIOClean Team a call! We are happy to help and trained to do it all, safely.

As always, The BIOClean Team is committed to being here for you when you need us the most. We are actively deploying teams to combat COVID-19 and offering large and small-scale disinfection in addition to all other standard services.

We follow the most up to date safety measures and precautions, employ an environmental hygienist to update our protocols, every team member is a certified professional following infection control measures, and the team is led by an RN with specific microbiology and virology knowledge.

Reopening Your Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We’re not completely past the COVID-19 Pandemic, but we are starting to see the light on the other side of this tunnel. After the past couple of months of shelter-in-place orders and state mandates to flatten the curve, businesses across the country are starting to reopen and find some semblance of normalcy. But how do you do that? This time on the BIOClean Team blog we’re going to help you understand the stages of reopening your business.

Stages to Reopening Businesses and Workplaces

The CDC has released some guidelines in getting businesses back up in running during the midst of the pandemic, so we are here to help spread the word far and wide. The more precautions everyone takes, the better we will be in the months to come! But before you even consider how to open, first you need to determine if your business can reopen.

Can You Reopen?

Answer these questions. Is the business in a community that is no longer needing significant efforts to combat the spread?  Are the state and local protocols allowing it? Will you be able and ready to protect employees or customers who are at a higher risk?

If the answer isn’t yes for each of these, you should consider postponing reopening further. Reopening for business before the environment, community, and individual employees’ safety is ensured is a recipe for disaster.

Consider the exact work the employees are required to do. Must they interact directly with customers or work closely with others? They may very well need specific safety equipment provided or installed. Anything from requiring masks to be worn by customers and employees, to installing plastic sneeze guards. Be sure that the business is setting up everyone for success and safety from the get-go.

Follow Ongoing Safety Recommendations

Reopening is just the first step in the process. Once business resumes, workplaces will need to maintain a crucial level of sanitation, promoting the best hygiene practices possible to ensure the ongoing health and safety of workers and customers. 

Be prepared to:

  • Promote healthy hygiene standards such as wearing face masks, have disinfecting wipes available
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection standards
  • Practice social distancing either by changing layout of workspaces, staggering shifts, or other means
  • Train all staff on safety protocols
  • Check for symptoms in employees
  • Have a plan for sick employees
  • Encourage anyone who is feeling even slightly under the weather to stay home

And perhaps most crucial of all, be prepared to close again.

We are still in the midst of a pandemic, and while it looks like things are trending the right direction, that can change. It’s an evolving situation that needs to be adapted to on a day by day, case by case basis. The business may reopen, but to stay open it will need to keep everyone healthy. These safeguards are the absolute minimum that businesses should be prepared to handle, and if not they shouldn’t be reopening.

Now, here at BIOClean, we can only speak to the health and safety of the process. For economic and business-minded steps to reopening you can read plenty from other places. Ready to reopen? Ready to take the necessary measures to provide a safe, sanitary working environment? Need some help doing a deep sanitizing before you reopen those doors? Give The BIOClean Team a call! We Strictly following ever-changing  CDC Guidelines, employ  an environmental hygienist to update our protocol, all team members are certified professionals following infection control measure and the team is lead by an RN with specific microbiology and virology knowledge

Ozone Gas – A Useful, Serious Cleaning Tool

Ozone is a powerful tool in our arsenal of cleaning and remediation but it shouldn’t be used lightly! This time on the BIOClean Team blog, we are explaining Ozone, its uses, and why it’s not something for DIY cleaners to mess with!

Ozone – It’s a Serious Gas

Ozone (O3)  is a heavy gas and an incredible oxidant. For those who don’t want to read a whole bunch of Wikipedia, an oxidant (or oxidizing agent) is any substance that has the ability to accept the electrons of other substances. Meaning the oxidant destroys the other thing, and takes parts of it along with it.

When you smell a foul odor in your home, that is because oxygen (another oxidizing agent) has accepted some of the molecules – tiny, microscopic parts – of whatever nastiness is sitting around. It is still air, but now it has a little something extra.  Ozone does the same thing.

Ozone is pumped into a space, where it then breaks down the oxygen molecules (that means the breathable air) and absorbs them into it.  Thankfully, ozone doesn’t stay like that for long – once the generator is turned off the ozone will break down and settle, allowing the air to be breathed again safely after a couple of hours. (The chemical reason is that third oxygen atom breaks away and the O3 becomes O2)

Why Ozone Needs to be Handled with Caution and Experience

Ozone breaks down the breathable air of a space and can damage the soft surfaces of the room. If a person were to be in the room as the ozone is working they will lose breathable air – we breathe O2, not O3, and so with ozone breaking down everything in the environment, humans inside will have less and less air to breath. First, they will become light-headed and confused before losing consciousness and dying. The ozone can also damage the mucous membranes and other respiratory tissues (like lungs). 

If left in place too long, the ozone can even breakdown the rubber in windows seals and wire casings. If the protective covering of a wire gets damaged, it creates an opening for electricity to pass through, causing sparks or worse.

Proper Ozone Use

Ozone, when used properly, is an amazing tool. It works great for odors as well as spore and virus control, but it isn’t the only step. It has to be a part of a total remediation plan – ozone is simply one of the (last) steps. Using ozone isn’t as simple as plopping down the generator and flipping it on. We follow the following steps to ensure safety.

    1. First, make sure that all living things are removed from the room or space.
    2. Cover or remove items that will be adversely affected by the gas. We know the best ways to clean these other materials, and ozone isn’t it.
    3. Start the ozone generator and set the timer. Running it for too long can damage the room/home.
    4. Wait. Depending on the size of the room, or home, it could be anywhere from 3 to 30 hours.
    5. When the timer is done it will shut off the generator automatically, but we don’t rush right in. You have to wait another hour or two for the ozone to settle and breathable air to fill the space again.

The BIOClean Team has the experience and skills necessary to leverage powerful tools like ozone gas for remediation work, it’s not something you want to leave to chance. Give us a call to find out how the BIOClean Team can help you restore your space, safely.

Coronavirus, Disinfecting, and You

Every day more and more conferences and events, businesses and schools are closing down as preemptive measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, an infectious disease that has been spreading across the globe. 

The 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak is an ongoing, developing situation. This information is as accurate as sources available at the time of writing.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus is the name of a group of different viruses that cause respiratory tract infections, typically mild ones like the common cold, but also rarer, more deadly forms such as SARS and MERS. COVID-19, the specific virus that is causing the 2019-20 outbreak is one of these more serious viruses in the larger family.

How Does Coronavirus Transfer

COVID-19 transmission occurs through respiratory droplets coming from coughs and sneezes that have a range of about 6 feet. There is a concern that even asymptomatic individuals can transfer the illness but the World Health Organization doesn’t think that is a major driver of transmission. After an incubation period of 2-14 days following exposure, COVID-19 symptoms develop.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19

The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. There is a lot of chatter out there suggesting COVID-19 is just like the flu but, it is similar, but definitely not the same. If you are feeling ill, know what symptoms you are experiencing and which you aren’t. It can help you understand the correct next steps.

How to Keep Yourself, Your Home, Your Business Healthy

vigorous hand washing

Now, we here at BIOClean Team are equipped to handle infectious diseases, and can decontaminate homes and offices. But in this case, the number one thing everyone needs right now is a bit of knowledge and precaution. 

GOOD HYGIENE PRACTICES

Practicing good hygiene can help stop the spread of germs, including COVID-19 so get into these habits to increase your chances of staying healthy and weathering the storm.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it immediately into the trash. The infected droplets will sit in that tissue waiting to be breathed in – ensure there’s no further contamination and put them right in the garbage.

Wash your hands properly, and regularly, for at least 20 seconds. If you came into contact with something gross, or someone who is ill, spend up to 3 minutes doing a vigorous washing from hands to elbows.

Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth. COVID-19 is spread through droplets from sneezes and coughs and they don’t just float in the air. Those droplets find their way down onto surfaces where they sit until something stirs them. If your hands come into contact with a surface and you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth you have transferred the infected droplets right where they want to go.

Stay home when you are sick. Whether it’s COVID-19 or not, limiting exposure to others can help stop the spread of germs and keep you from getting any worse while your immune system is compromised. Don’t visit family and friends in the hospital if you aren’t feeling well yourself.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas, surfaces, and objects. Keep gloves or disinfectant wipes in your car to help clean any surfaces or your hands after pumping gas, gas station counters, or fast food.

GENERAL WELLNESS PRACTICES

Keeping things clean and washed are a great step to cut down on the transmission of germs. Keeping yourself in the best health you can be is a great defense against illnesses.

Take your vitamins. The human body needs the right fuel for everything to perform optimally, and for many they are woefully low on the vitamins and minerals that help the body stay healthy. Take zinc and vitamin C to help supplement your immune system. There is plenty of evidence out there linking vitamin C and reduced risks of cold and flu complications. 

Sleep! Get a good night’s rest!  During sleep your immune system and body goes through the necessary steps of rebuilding your body and promoting healing from the days wear and tear. Sleep deprivation decreases your body’s ability to heal and prepare itself to fight off infections with antibodies

 

If you are a business owner, you can hire a company like BIOClean to do a regular cleaning service like nightly disinfecting or a weekly deep clean. These should be done anyways, keeping workstations, offices, and conference rooms disinfected can help prevent the spread of germs, but 4 weeks of daily disinfecting go right out the window as soon as someone sneezes or coughs onto a table. You are the answer to keeping yourself, your family, your employees, and customers healthy. Be proactive about your hygiene and best practices– you can do it!

Take care of yourselves, stay healthy, and stay safe, call The BIOClean Team if you need an office disinfected or hazardous waste clean up.

Meth Lab Cleanup Procedures – How BIOClean Does It!

Last time on the blog we talked about how meth is made and the labs that people use to ‘cook’ the substance. Made of many different, dangerous chemicals these labs leave the home and other structures used as labs in unlivable conditions. So how do we handle meth lab cleanups?

It’s important to note that depending on how the property comes to us changes the process we may take. If the property is suspected to have been a meth lab by the homeowners versus if the homeowner has received an order issued pursuant to Section 25400.22 that property owned by that person is contaminated by a methamphetamine laboratory activity, the approach will differ due to the necessity to follow the city submission documents. 

The BIOClean Team has worked with multiple city code enforcement divisions and is familiar with the submission of preliminary site assessment work plans to the local health officers, and this deep insight informs our procedures to make sure everything is handled exactly as it needs to.

Meth Lab Cleanup

Plan and Prep

First, we work with our trusted environmental hygienist to determine pre-remediation levels of all possible contaminants. With this in mind, we can begin the planning stage.

We then develop a site plan, risk assessment, and containment procedural plan. Having a plan is a necessary step to ensure that the meth lab cleanup goes is completed to the highest standards and in the proper processes. With a plan in hand, we can execute!

We open all areas to air, using short-term ventilation protocol prior to clean up procedures to decrease toxic fumes that are present during cleanup.

With the ventilation coming in it’s time to set up containment and air quality control measures. This means setting up HEPA filtration fans, getting ventilation blowers in place, and turning the home’s HVAC system off and sealing it. The HVAC system can be an avenue for the fumes and chemical residue to spread throughout the home so we need to seal it to keep things from getting any worse. 

Removal Work

Now that ventilation and air control measures are in place, it’s time to go through and begin removing things. Affected equipment, supplies, contaminated items, hypodermic needles, any porous items that may have absorbed toxic chemicals are sealed and removed. Highly toxic materials will be disposed of as hazardous material disposal following all transport and disposal regulations.

After the removal of the equipment, debris, it’s time to go deeper with absorbent material removal. Carpet, drapes, and clothing all can absorb chemical fumes, dust, or powders involved in the manufacturing process. 

It is generally less expensive to remove all suspect items than take samples and have them analyzed, however, we will work with the client regarding these items and create a plan for remediation that is safe and considers all options.

Cleaning

After everything has been removed, HEPA vacuuming of all particulate (all surface areas) is done. Then encapsulation cleaning using EPA registered environmental residue wash specific for the encapsulation of chemical rescue; all surface areas, and multiple techniques are used in higher concentration areas.

If a surface has visible contamination or staining, complete removal and replacement of that surface is recommended. This could include removal and replacement of appliances, plumbing fixtures, wallboard, floor coverings, and countertops.

Once the removal and cleaning has been done it’s time for post-remediation sampling and clearance tests. When everything gets the ok, a Certificate of Treatment is issued for liability reduction to the property owner. 

While there is no method of cleaning that will guarantee “complete” safety, the procedures followed by The BIOClean Technicians are best practice and follow EPA guidelines and state regulations for disposal and reducing exposures to the toxic chemicals used in methamphetamine manufacturing. Evidenced by clearance testing and certificates of treatment, the property owner can reduce his or her liability in this unfortunate situation. There are also a few things to keep in mind post 

Post Meth Lab Cleanup Considerations

HVAC

The BIOClean Team will have sealed the HVAC vents and cleaned the ducts using a qualified HVAC company. Air filters will be replaced. It is suggested to retest the HVAC after service has been restored. If chemicals are persistent in the ducts after a thorough cleaning and filter, you may need further cleaning and / or duct replacement. 

Plumbing

In many properties, waste products generated during illegal drug manufacturing are dumped down sinks, drains and toilets. These products can collect in drains, traps and septic tanks and give off fumes. 

The BIOClean Team can help you vet an experienced plumbing contractor to flush waste traps or pull waste water dependent on the system you have. 

Drywall, Appliances Replacement

Any items removed due to damage or contamination should be replaced. Appliances, counters, drywall, flooring all may be subject to removal in this process. 

The BIOClean Team can assist in a plan for order of repair and replacement, and vet subcontractors if needed. 

Repainting

After any interior surfaces are cleaned, cleared, and all drywall has been replaced/ patched an experienced painter should be enlisted. Wall surfaces should be repainted with oil-based paint, epoxy, or polyurethane primer followed by an additional coat of paint. Painting helps to provide a barrier between the previously contaminated surfaces and anyone who may come in contact with the surface.The BIOClean Team can help you vet an experienced painter who understands the importance and types of paints to be used in this scenario. 

**We do not get “referral fees” for subcontractor services. Our MAIN goal is to assist you in this process and make it as seamless as possible. We understand you are going through a tragic situation and need as MUCH support as possible. If you are dealing with a meth lab remediation situation, you give us a call and we’ll work with you to see it through. We will be with you every step of the way, even AFTER our services are complete.

WHY The BIOClean Team?

Meth Labs with the BIOClean Team

Methamphetamine, also known as “meth,” “speed,” “crank,” “crystal,” and “ice,” is a terrible illicit substance. It wreaks havoc on the user’s central nervous system as well as their skin, teeth, hair, bones, and of course their psyche. Furthermore, the chemicals that go into the production of methamphetamine are extremely dangerous. The  (often amateur) labs that manufactures it create hazardous environments that need proper professional care.

Meth Labs 

Meth is commonly manufactured in illegal, hidden “labs” inside hotels, apartments, vehicles, RVs, residential homes, or even makeshift outdoor setups. Some of these homes are rented out, others overrun by squatters or transients. We have even seen labs in attics “rented” out by tenants who are having a hard time keeping their home

How is Meth Made?

Meth is made by mixing various forms of amphetamine (which can be found over the counter in Sudafed or other cold pills) with chemicals such as battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel, and antifreeze. These dangerous chemicals are potentially explosive when mixed.  

Because the meth cooks are drug users themselves they can be careless or disoriented while preparing chemicals which adds to the danger of fires and explosions. 

NOTE: If there is a fire emergency in a potential meth lab, DO NOT ENTER the property and let the first responders know that this is a “hazmat emergency” due to the toxic fumes from these chemicals. 

Besides the inherent fire damage, the illegal laboratories create massive amounts of toxic waste. Illegal production of one pound of methamphetamine produces five pounds of waste. People exposed to this waste material can become poisoned and sick.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW???

When a laboratory is shut down, some equipment may be removed by law enforcement. The remaining paraphernalia or cooking equipment will need to be properly disposed of by an environmental company like The BIOClean Team. The property will also be contaminated with methamphetamine and hazardous chemical residues that need attention.

The safest way to clean up a former meth lab is to hire a company, like THE BIOClean Team, trained in hazardous waste removal and cleanup. (see our certifications and training HERE

Meanwhile, PLEASE make sure that ANYONE near or about to enter the property is FULLY aware of the hazardous materials and toxic fumes present in the property.  We suggest posting “no trespassing” and “hazmat” signs around the property as well as securing the property with a board up while we complete our risk assessment and containment for cleanup. 

We strongly advise against entering the property, but if you MUST for any reason, please wear proper protective equipment. If at all possible retain a BIOClean Team technician as an escort during this time and wear a full respirator, long sleeves, and facial covering as chemicals may be absorbed by the skin. Also, be aware that general sanitation issues frequently exist at former meth labs and may include filth, pest infestations, and hypodermic needle hazards. Thick work gloves, sturdy closed toed shoes, and eye protection should be worn. 

AGAIN: WE DO NOT SUGGEST ENTERING THE PROPERTY. 

The chemicals may be odorless, tasteless, and invisible, and you can get VERY ILL!

So how do we clean it? Check back next time on the BIOClean Blog for our Meth Lab Cleanup Procedures. If you need help getting a property that was used as a meth lab back in a healthy, livable condition, give us a call today and Stacy and the BIOClean Team will work hard to work with you and return the property to good shape.

 

Is Your Gym REALLY Sanitary?

New Year, New You craze swept the world once again. With everyone packing up their gear and heading into their local gym or fitness center, a concern that not enough people take into consideration is the cleanliness of an establishment. It might look clean, but the BIOClean Team knows that looks can be deceiving when it comes to biohazards. This time on the blog, is your gym really sanitary?

Here’s the bad news: there are no standards of cleanliness that all gyms need to meet, no federal codes. If the gym has a sauna, spa, or any sort of cafe, those individual places may have specific inspection guidelines to adhere to but the rest of the space? The machines, free weights, mats, and floors? All of that is up to the diligence of the individual gym and their clients and employees to maintain. There’s a reason gyms frequently have signs asking their members to ‘Wipe down gym equipment after use.’ For many gyms, it seems impossible (or perhaps an afterthought) to call in a committed cleaning crew after the morning or evening rushes.

Where are the ‘Hot Zones’?

Here are the main areas of concern when it comes to a sanitary gym, and how gym-goers can protect their health!

Yoga Mats

Mats are covered in bacteria from those who use them. They can cause skin infections like athlete’s foot, or the germs to spread the cold and flu. The only way to be sure you’re staying safe here is to bring your own mat and clean it after each use.

Free Weights / Weight Machines

Weights get a lot of handling and are not nearly as frequently wiped down as their cardio equipment counterparts. To keep yourself from contracting any bugs or viruses, wipe down the weights before and after you use them. If your gym doesn’t have a station for disinfectant spray and clothes (a bad sign!), carry your own antibacterial gel for your hands.

Locker Room

Locker rooms tend to be hot and humid places, making them the perfect breeding ground for infectious materials. Always wear flip flops in the showers, and never sit on the bench unclothed or without a barrier between your skin and the surface.

Shower

Speaking of the shower, if possible just shower right when you get home. The gym shower surface is home to fungi and other infectious organisms that cause ringworm, warts, and athlete’s foot. If you must use the gym showers, use an antimicrobial soap and avoid shaving (that’s a surefire way to expose yourself to infections).

Towels

Towels may look clean but there are plenty of potential worries here. The towels might be washed in the same machines as mops and other rags. The clean towels may be transported in the same bins that move dirty towels. The only way to be certain you have a clean towel is to bring your own.

Still looking for the right gym to join? When being given the tour speak to the gym staff, ask if they get they monitor their air quality, what their cleaning process and schedule is like. Ask how they handle infection control. They should have an answer for it. Look for DIY cleaning stations and cleaning staffs presence. If either aren’t easily visible, this gym might not be as clean as you hope.

New Year, New You but stay healthy while you are at it! Here at the BIOClean Team we are fighting biohazards wherever they crop up – and that includes gyms! That’s why we partner with gyms to provide the regular heavy duty cleaning services they need. People want to be healthier than ever, not fall ill with infected feet.

Can a Pet Help with Loss

Handling a loss of any kind can put an emotional burden on a person that they may not know how to cope with. It can be an intense, turbulent time and recovering from it takes time in the best of conditions. For some, Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are proving to be a useful ally in the processing of grief.  This time on the BIOClean blog, we are taking a look at ESAs and how a pet can help with loss.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

While most commonly a dog, an ESA can be any animal, as the name implies. According to the AKC, “the pet needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist must determine that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient.”  In this instance, the pet may help ease someone’s anxiety, or help give them something to focus on in their daily life, a purpose of sorts. The ESA can be any breed, any age.

To be clear, these are not the same as service animals. Those animals are trained to perform very specific duties to assist someone in their everyday lives and are able to go anywhere the public can be, accompanying their owners to restaurants, etc. ESAs have more limited scope of where they can.

How Do Animals Help?

Pets give their owners a whole host of positive benefits just by being around them! Here are some of the better understood benefits.

dog paw in hand, emotional support pet

Produce Beneficial Neurotransmitters

Studies show that looking into the eyes of a pet dog increase oxytocin production in both owner and pet. Oxytocin is most commonly recognized as the bonding chemical in our brains, but it provides plenty of other positives along with bonding. These feel-good chemicals being produced create a cascade of other positive effects in the body as well. 

Provide Unconditional Love

When coping with a loss, human relationships can feel complicated, or messy. In a state of depression, even getting out and socializing can be too much. Having a pet that is constantly around providing companionship and unconditional love and affection can be the support someone needs when they can’t even get out of bed.

Regulate Daily Emotions

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that there is clear evidence that owning a pet, their presence, and even petting them all provide positive effects for a person’s emotional wellbeing. This helps stabilize moods day to day, allowing for healing and growth to occur.

Social Support

That same study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology also found that the presence and companionship of pets provides social support. This in turn provides incredibly real health benefits including better cardiovascular, endocrine,and immune functioning. Loss can devastate social support networks, having a pet can help mitigate that.

Of course, all of this applies to pets as a whole, as well. While ESAs need to be prescribed in order to receive the associated privileges, pets in general provide these same benefits to those suffering from depression, loneliness, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

Experiencing a loss is never easy. Taking care of a pet may be the help some need, providing real psychological and health benefits through the release of dopamine, the presence of positive attention and a social support that the brain and body both recognize as powerfully necessary. We hope this blog helps anyone who needs it. The BIOClean team cares and is here to help.

Fire Season Safety – Tips to See You Through Safety

Every year California goes through an incredibly destructive cycle – the winds, the wildfires, and the subsequent rains that cause mudslides and severe property damage. 

Since 2000 the wildfire cycle has gotten increasingly more extreme. As of this writing there has already been over 6,400 fires across California burning over 250,000 acres, costing millions in fire fighting and suppression and causing several fatalities. For many it isn’t too late to take precautionary actions to see your home safely through the fire season. 

Follow these four tips, and plans of action to help protect your home from the devastation.

Fire Season Safety

fire season, wildfire burns across california hillscape

Create a Defensible Space for Your Home

Defensible space is necessary to give your home the bare minimum amount of protection it needs. This consists of two zones around the home that reach out to 100ft total. The first zone is from the home proper to 30ft out. In this area homeowners need to remove all dead or dying leaves, brush, or trees, as well as make sure there is distance between vegetation and anything that might be flammable like patio furniture.

In the second zone, the next 70ft,  all leaves, grass, and branches that have built up over time need to be removed. Homeowners should pay attention to the distance between bushes and trees, both horizontally and vertically. Fires burn outward and up, able to leap from lower bushes into trees. As soon as the fire reaches the tops of trees, fighting it becomes that much harder. 

You can learn a whole lot more about creating a defensible space and other wildfire prep from ReadyForWildfire.org 

Prepping Your Home

In addition to creating a safer perimeter around your home, there are improvements you can make to the structure itself to help it better weather the wildfire season. Roof, windows, decks, and rain gutters can all be addressed to help reduce the 

Roof with wooden shingles should be re-roofed using sturdier options like tile or composite materials. Windows should be double-paned with at least one pane of tempered glass to help prevent breaking from heat. If you have a deck already, make sure any combustible items are removed from under the deck and clean out rain gutters for any ignitable debris.

If you have the means and time, rebuilding your home (deck, roof, walls, etc.) with materials that are ignition resistant can help your home make it through the fire season.

Prep a Family Plan

Creating an emergency plan that your family knows and knows how to follow can save you minutes when seconds matter. The Department of Homeland Security suggests starting a plan by answering these four questions: 

How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?

What is my shelter plan?

What is my evacuation route?

What is my family/household communication plan?

Answering these questions can give you a solid foundation of a plan. Then fine tune it by addressing any specific dietary needs, medicine, extra care your family needs. 

Track what responsibilities each member of your family can handle, can your daughter be in charge of grabbing the dog’s supplies? By giving everyone (who can handle one) a job you can share the load of emergency prep. Prepare a room in your home that can be cut off entirely from the outside air and weather the worst of it. Get a supply of N95 respirator masks and a portable air purifier to help filter the smoke. Plan several possible routes in case your primary route becomes inaccessible.

Practice, Practice, Practice

With a plan in place, you need to practice it. Making sure your family knows the plan like the back of their hands is necessary for it to be effective at all. Toughing out a wildfire or evacuating in a hurry is stressful. Doing your best to memorize the plan while it is safe to do so is critical to comba that stress response and make sure everyone knows their role and makes it through safely.

Use FEMAs Plan Documents to help your family prepare for an emergency.

And remember, if the authorities tell you you need to evacuate, DO IT! Experts are watching and predicting the route thee fires can take, and even then they are unpredictable! If it seems possible that your home can become affected, getting you and your loved ones out of harm’s way is the most critical step you can take to make it through the wildfire season.

Loss of home and belongings is incredibly painful, but cleaning up and rebuilding is possible. The most important thing is to make it through the fire season safely. From all of us here at The BIOClean Team, stay safe out there!

Why Do People Commit Suicide?

Every year, thousands of Americans commit suicide… Sadly, it’s the 10th leading cause of death in the United State affecting not only the victim, but the surviving family members and friends. Undeniably, the pressing question is. Why is sucide so common? When a loved one takes their own life, it can feel impossible to understand. What was going through their mind that lead to this most terrible, permanent decision? It can be a lot to take in. While it may be impossible to truly know why someone chose to take their own life, these are some common;y identified factors.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation: 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Why Do People Commit Suicide?

Is it depression? Often cited as the cause, depression doesn’t impact all victims, and certainly not every depressed person commits suicide, only about 5% of do. Everyone experiences a different, unique chain of events in their life that can, potentially, lead to it.

man comforting woman wondering why do people commit suicide

The ‘Main’ Risk Factors

According to the National Institute of Mental Health increased risk factors for suicideinclude the follwoing:

    • Mental health disorders
      • Depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, & eating disorders. (These place an incredible toll on the individuals’ state of mind and overall wellness)
    • Substance abuse problems
      • Substance abuse is linked with impulsivity, and the influence the substances can have on a person might make them more susceptible to suicidal ideation than when sober. The link between substance abuse and depression/mental health disorders can be a terrible combination for a person.
    • Family history of mental health disorders or suicide
      • A family history of mental health problems can suggest the presence of those same problems in family members who haven’t been diagnosed. These things are also an ongoing trauma, a difficulty for others in their family that can affect them.
    • Family violence, physical or sexual abuse
    • Being in prison/jail
      • Isolation own it own is one of the hardest things for a person to experience, we’re social creatures and rely on our social group as a support network. When people don’t have access to that support in addition to the other stresses of being incarcerated it can magnify that isolation.
    • Medical illness
      • Feeling unwell day in and day out has a tremendous impact on a person’s quality of life. In some cases it can also give a person suffering from chronic pain/illness the idea that they are a burden to others, or making their loved ones’ lives harder.
    • Exposure to others’ suicidal behavior
    • Being between 15-24 or over 60
    • A prior suicide attempt

 

 

Why people commit suicide can have a huge range of ‘reasons,’ (in quotes because suicide is never a reasonable act, it is one borne from deperation, confusion, fear of loss, and more) and when more than one of those factors are present it only increases the risk.

Why Do Young People Commit Suicide?

It is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24. 

  • Family conflict
  • Loss of other people
  • Grades 
  • Relationships
  • Sexual identity 

For many young people, these can seem impossible to navigate and being afraid of talking with friends or teachers puts a block up between them and their support system. Without help, they may feel like there is only one choice left to them.

Why Do Veterans Commit Suicide?

Veterans are an extremely high risk population for suicide, not only due to documented cases of PTSD, but because of the high propensity to “avoid seeking help”, veterans often find themselves self medicating with alcohol or other substances. There has often been a stigma associated with asking for help, and this coupled with strong feelings of trauma, depression, or rage can propel these individuals into suicidal ideations; without family or friends even knowing they are in need of help. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs covers PTSD in more detail.

There may be no warning signs at all. The mind is complex, and the struggles someone is going through might not manifest in any ‘visible’ ways. This can leave their loved ones double guessing what they possible could have missed. 

We can’t fix the past, we can only take comfort that we did our best with what we knew. Suicide is often an act made during an emotionally charged combination of difficult streses and complex feelings in a volatile mix, that no One Thing could fix. 

Dealing with the aftermath of a suicide can be extremeley overhwleming. Whether a close friend, family member, neighbor, or figure in the media, feelings can arise that are inexplicable and leave one questioning their environmental stability and values. 

Know, all your feelings are NORMAL and part of the grieving / healing process. 

Here, at the BIOClean Team, our goal is to assist survivors in moving forward through some of the immediately pressing and overwhelming needs. This may be a simple phone call to guide you forward with an open ear, or it may be a full cleanup. Traumatic incidents can happen to anyone, please know you are not alone. 

Not only is The BIOClean Team founder a registered nurse with over ten years or trauma and emergency experience, she is also a surviving friend of more than “a few” personal tragedies. Stacy’s personal cell is always open to families who need advice or assistance, even if no cleanup services are rendered. 

Additionally, you can rest assured, The BIOClean Team technicians are highly trained and specialized to deal with these services. They are discreet, respectful, thoroughly trained, and properly certified. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation: 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255