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

Homeowners Insurance and Our Cleanup Services

Thinking about your insurance isn’t usually the first thing on your mind when your home is the site of a crime, or loss of a loved one. While we hope it’s something you never have to consider, it can be helpful to know ahead of time what your homeowners insurance covers – and the good news is this: most homeowners insurance policies cover cleanup services.

Homeowners Insurance

Insurance is a safety net, to help you recover from life’s curveballs. However, a safety net isn’t any good if it doesn’t cover those surprises! You know your policy covers a fallen tree, you know it covers hail, but what about disasters, riots, or crime? For the most part (we can’t say all of them) your homeowners insurance has your back. Here are some, perhaps surprising, things your policy covers you might not know about.

Homeowners insurance policy and model of home.

Your Homeowners Insurance Can Cover…

Protesting Masses

Times are turbulent. With a country more politically active than ever, it seems like a daily occurrence that there is a march or protest somewhere.  If your home is damaged from protests or rioting, worry not – your homeowners insurance will cover the cost to repair damages.

 

Disasters

If you’re local to SoCal like us, then you know how insurance handles earthquakes or floods (usually separate policies for those specific disasters) but damage to your home caused by falling volcanic ash is frequently covered under standard policies. Not bad huh?

 

Break Ins

If you have ever been the victim of a breaking and entering, you know criminals don’t tend to treat your home with respect when they are thrashing your home. If your home is trashed, furniture broken, that sort of thing, your homeowners policy will cover the damages – though the amount covered varies on individual policies and how they handle depreciation.

 

Deaths

It is not something we ever hope to see, but it can happen. Homes can be the site of an unattended, undiscovered passing, or a crime that leaves a biohazard state behind. If this should happen, rest easy knowing your homeowners policy likely covers the necessary work to bring it back to a livable condition. 

 

Final Resting Places

You might be surprised to learn that your policy covers family member’s final resting places, whether they are on the property or elsewhere. Should a grave marker be damaged, vandalized, or removed your policy will help cover it.

The important thing to take away from this blog is that homeowners policies often cover much more than we might initially suspect. The only way to be certain is to reach out and ask!

 

The BIOClean Team and Homeowners Insurance

We are a bit of a niche industry, as you might imagine. A part of what enables us to help people as quickly and seamlessly as possible is to work with insurance companies as much as possible. That’s why The BIOClean Team works so closely with insurers to have solid relationships. When they know what our process is it makes us an easy call for them to make, or recommendation to give. It cuts out the run around and gets everything on the path to normalcy that much faster.

It makes the whole process smoother, and now you are a part of that process. You know your policy covers these kinds of incidents, you can move to get help right away, as soon as you’re able.

You Don’t Need Insurance For Our Help

If you are in a situation where you don’t have insurance but you need help don’t hesitate to give us a call. The BIOClean Team is here to help you, not companies. When dealing with the aftermath of trying times, the last thing you should have to worry about is cleaning. 

Hopefully finding this blog has given you the peace of mind you need to move forward. Know that the BIOClean Team works to make the process as efficient as possible, whether that’s with or without insurance. You already have to deal with so much, let us shoulder that burden and bring your home back to a livable space again. Should you need our services, give us a call – we are available 24/7/365 and ready to move out and restore your property to livable conditions.

The Dangers of Living in a Former Meth House – What To Look For

In homes all across America there is something sinister lurking just beneath the surface… all houses have a history and some of them are dangerous.  In the spirit of the season we’re looking at something spooky here on the BIOClean Team Blog, we’re looking at what can happen when you live in a former meth house and how to identify them. 

Dangers of Living in a Former Meth House

Living in meth houses is dangerous, everybody knows that. The handling of volatile chemicals can lead to explosions and fires amongst other health concerns. What many might not realize is that even when the house is no longer an active meth lab, the health complications are still there. Here’s why.

Methamphetamine is a crystal substance that when heated vaporizes, that’s how people ingest it. That vapor  goes off and into surfaces and as it cools, it recrystallizes. This trace amount increases over time and in the case of homes that used to be meth labs, can leave incredibly unhealthy levels of the chemicals in the walls, ceilings, carpets – you name it. When meth is ‘cooked’ in a home these toxins spread everywhere.This remaining chemicals can harm those living in the home, as they are exposed to the residual meth daily.

In some cases families report constant sickness, inability to sleep, sinus problems that require surgery, babies unable to gain weight. Others have methamphetamine traces show up in their bloodwork without any history of using the substance. Migraines, respiratory difficulties, skin burns, irritation. The list goes on, and these are just the short term effects. The possible long-term health problems are less understood, but no less scary.

Coming down with these illnesses repeatedly, seemingly out of nowhere can seem like something out of a horror movie!  If you have experienced any of these symptoms after moving into a new home, it may very well be that your home’s history wasn’t properly disclosed to you. 

Signs of a Former Meth House

Whether you are looking at purchasing a new home or you’re renting out a property and wonder what might be going down – keep your eyes peeled for some of these common meth house signs.

Stay Alert for Strong Scents

While older homes might have a normal, musty smell, meth homes have a clear scent. Smell for ammonia, vinegar, or a rotten egg smell. These are definitive flags that something is up, if you haven’t bought the property yet now is the time to ask some serious questions.

Ask Your Neighbors

One of the couples we mentioned earlier had no idea until their neighbors clued them in. Talk to your neighbors, they have likely been in the neighborhood longer than yourself and may have seen things that the seller of the property didn’t see (or didn’t want to disclose). 

Test Your Home

If you have noticed any of these signs, or want to get right to the scientific truth of the matter, you can get a test. You can buy a methamphetamine test to test the levels in your home for relatively low costs (some on Amazon for as little as $10 at the time of this writing). Each state has a ‘safe’ limit so check against that number to determine whether your result is acceptable for you. And if that tests proves positive for even a minuscule amount, you are allowed to feel it is unacceptable. It’s your home, you don’t have to go by a recommended safe amount if you don’t feel safe!

While we hope you never have to deal with a situation like these fine people who discovered, perhaps too late, that their home was a former meth lab, it’s worth it to have this knowledge ahead of time! 

Call The BIOClean Team

The BIOClean team cleaning a house, hoarder house, meth house
The BIOClean Team getting the job done!

Get bad news? Did your house test positive for meth residue? It is time for a serious cleanup! We have talked about meth cleanup before, the necessities and how it works. But the long and short of it is: if you suspect your home or home-to-be was a meth house,  get professional assistance and make sure your home is habitable! If you need the help, get in touch! The BIOClean Team is prepared to handle the hard work necessary to rehabilitate properties just like yours. Giving your family peace of mind and a safe place to live again.

BIOClean How To: Start House Cleaning After Death

Last time on the we talked about how to get ready to clean the home of a recently passed love one, the first steps in getting things settled and this time, we are looking at getting things sorted. Once you have the home secured, the will read, and limits set it’s time to begin the possibly long process of house cleaning after death.

Remember:  Be Kind to Yourself. This is an emotionally stressful time, but you will persevere, you will get through this. Ask for help if you need it. The process is physically and emotionally taxing. If you need people to help move furniture, or help to get through the grief, lean on your support system – people are there for you!

How to Start House Cleaning After a Death: Claims, Donations and More

Go Through the Home

Now that will has been read, a date set, and the family informed, it’s time to get to the actual work of house cleaning.  First things first, make sure anything that has been willed has been taken care of with the beneficiary. If someone is willed a painting, get them in the home and make sure they receive the painting. Your loved one wanted them to have it, a final gift, so make sure you honor those wishes.

After the will has been executed on, it’s time to take care of the rest of the stuff. This will likely have to happen in stages.

While it might seem like an easier path, do not just get the family together at once and let them run wild through the home. Instead, take a first lap around the house doing a rough sort of each room.

Set aside the high-value objects for appraisal such as fine art, silver, jewelry, antiques. If your family member collected anything specific like coins, stamps, etc. that would be worth appraising as well.

Sentimental items like blankets, quilts, or anything else should be kept to a separate area from the valuables.

When the home has been sorted you can bring in the family. Does everyone get along? Bringing everyone in a large group so they can talk about it might work well. If two parties should find themselves both wishing to get something, they can handle it out there and keep the processing moving along (when this happens and one party got ‘first choice’ it can cause unfortunate rifts).

If, however, there are already frictions in the family, bringing in smaller groups one at a time can make everything run smoother. Start with immediate family, then move out to family and friends the deceased was the closest too. Allow them to place sticky notes on items they wish, when multiple people want the same thing you can make sure they are in contact with each other. The goal is to make sure everything is done by that date, so they’ll have to come to an agreement by then!

distraught couple moving house after loved one passing

Donate and Remove Unwanted Items

After everyone has had their chance to claim any leftover items, if there are any pieces of furniture or items that are in good condition think about donating them! Did your loved one have a church, or community group they were active in? Did they have a favorite charity or cause? Donating to those groups can be a great way to help them and honor the memory of your loved one.

After donations and claims from family and friends you might still have some stuff lingering around the house. In those cases it’s time to rent a dumpster and haul away what’s left. This moment can feel overwhelming. Remember, these aren’t items that were wanted, they don’t hold the memories you might feel they do at that moment. Most likely, these are just pieces of old junk your loved one would have been happy to get rid of themselves.

 

With everything removed, donated, or claimed, you should be left with an empty residence ready for a good cleaning. Should it need serious work, call in professionals (it’s our job!). The home is ready to be put back on the market, for new family members to inhabit, or for another person in need to move in. The home is clean and the stuff is gone, but the person who passed, they live on in your heart, and the memories can never be taken away. Remember to be kind to yourself as you process in this time, seek help, attend a grief support group, or speak with a professional if you think it will help you.

We’ll see you next time on The BIOClean Team blog!

BIOClean How To: Prep for House Cleaning After Death

While the immediate results of someone passing are often within the scope of our work here at The BIOClean Team, it is not the only house cleaning after death. After a loved on passes, the task of tending their home falls on the family, and in this stressful time, it can seem a daunting, overwhelming chore. This month on the BIOClean Team blog, we are talking about handling an estate cleanout. First let’s talk about the process before the actual cleaning out.

How to Prep for House Cleaning After a Death

Assuming you didn’t need to have any serious cleaning services, or after they have been done, it’s time to tend to the belongings and home that have been left behind. If you are the one responsible for this, you will want to follow these steps to make it work

Secure the Home

The first thing necessary to doing a proper job house cleaning, is securing the home. You may not be able to clean out the home immediately and you also don’t know who has keys to the residence.  To protect everything in the home, change the locks as soon as you can. You might not have the time to fully clean the house, but swapping out locks should be a quick enough job. If your loved one was renting the property, you will want to speak with their landlord about the proper way to secure the belongings.

Track Down Important Paperwork

Before you get into the nitty gritty of tossing, taking, or selling off property, make sure you have located all of the essential paperwork necessary to take care of your loved one’s affairs.

Documents to look out for include:

  • Social security card
  • Utility bills
  • Credit card statements
  • Mortgage payments
  • Car registrations
  • Deeds
  • Insurance policies
  • Receipts or paperwork for jewelry or art
  • Any username and passwords for online accounts
  • Wills

That last one (wills) is going to be incredibly important for the next step so be sure you have it before proceeding.

But… What if There Is No Will?

If in the course of hunting down the important documents you come to find that there is no will in place, your loved one had died ‘intestate.’ That’s just a fancy word for not having made a will before they died but it does put everything in a legal space that varies state by state. Get in touch with a legal eagle in your area to determine exactly how to handle it.

attending the will, a crucial step in cleaning house after death

Go Over the Will and Set Limits

The will is going to guide you on your path to cleaning house. If the passing of your loved one was expected, you very well may already be familiar with what their will entails, but it’s possible it is all new to you. Either way, it is incredibly important to read over the will carefully before beginning any estate cleanout.

Most wills are straight forward. ‘I leave my jewelry to Nancy, my oldest daughter. My furniture to Frank, my younger son.’ This sort of direction. But not all are so easily deciphered. You may need the help of a probate attorney. If the will lists an executor, they should be the one to choose an attorney, should it be required.

While you are tending to the will, make a time limit for the process. If you set a firm date and let everyone know with plenty of time to work through it, you avoid a lot of problems that can occur. Remember, everyone is grieving, everyone is going through the process differently and emotions are running high. No one wants to be mean or hard to deal with, but the emotional toll can make me people irritable.

If the home is going to go back on the market following cleanup (should it be a rental, or if you are choosing to do so) having a firm due date can help the process stay on track.

 

We will pause there for now. Next time on the blog we’ll get into the specific stages of cleaning out the house after a death that mind help give you a guideline to follow. It is an extremely emotionally tough time, we know. Remember to be kind on yourself as you go about this necessary work. If you think the home needs serious, professional cleaning efforts give us a call and see how The BIOClean Team can help.

What’s Needed For Car Accident Cleanup!

Ever get stuck in a traffic jam, and after waiting twenty minutes you come up to see the source of the problem – an accident. Whether a small fender bender or something more serious, car accidents leave plenty of wreckage. Ever wonder who takes care of the leftover debris, smashed glass, and spilt fluids? That’s  what this blog is all about! This time on The BioClean Team blog we are looking at car accident cleanup!

The world is full of messes, and we’re here to help clean them up! Whether it’s meth labs (link) or human feces (link) we know the importance of proper cleaning procedures. When it comes to car accident cleanup, there are a few different steps and groups responsible.

Car Accident Cleanup

First Responders

When an accident happens, police and/or fire departments are first on the scene making sure everyone is alright and getting them the emergency help they need. Part of that is also about maintaining the order of the traffic space, getting the road blocked off if necessary and rerouting traffic. Depending on the severity of the accident, they may be able to move any larger pieces of debris from the roadway.  In the case of more severe car accidents, cleanup will be managed by a tow company. 

The Tow Company

Police departments typically maintain a contract with tow companies to ensure they have the needed manpower to help clean up after significant accidents. When vehicles are so damaged they can’t be driven away or easily maneuvered, that’s when the tow crew comes in. They have the tools necessary to move the large wreckage, any of the loose debris, and spilled fluids. They carry a material that they can spread out to absorb the harmful liquids and make clean up much easier, it’s like kitty litter on steroids.

With these in hand they use their trucks winches to get the wreckage pulled up off the road, the larger pieces of debris moved, sweep up glass and other smaller particles and lay down the mix to clean up spills. If the accident ended with just vehicle damage, then that’s settled (at least until time for repairs.) If however, the accident caused more harm to the people inside than the car itself, you’ll need to look elsewhere for cleanup support.

 

What Comes Next?car accident cleanup necessary, car with biohazard material in it

Sometimes, an accident leaves the vehicle in a condition that a simple trip to the body shop won’t fix. We are talking about any accident (or any reason) that might leave the interior of the vehicle a potential biohazard. That’s where companies like the BIOClean Team can help! Whether a private or emergency vehicle, the BIOClean Team takes care of everything! We deodorize and decontaminate the vehicle, removing all trace of debris and odors. Using the proper EPA-approved cleaning agents, disinfectants and solvents, the BIOClean Team takes care to clean every area affected directly, and those that may have unknowingly been cross-contaminated.

So, who cleans up after car accidents? It all depends on the severity, the situation and what kind of clean up is necessary! If it’s an instance where there is not need for police assistance, it is up to the owners of the vehicles to pick up their debris (though they may not realize it!) In those cases it is up to city services to head out and take care of the cleanup.

Do you have a vehicle that is in need of remediation? Exposure to bodily fluids ruined your car’s carpet and cushions? You need a professional to decontaminate and deodorize! Give us a call and see what The BIOClean Team can do for you! 

Cleaning Up Human Feces – It’s a Crappy Job

Here at the BIOClean Team we take care of some serious messes. From hoarding homes to aftermath of crimes, death, meth labs, we handle it all. One that might surprise our readers to hear is cleaning up human feces. That’s right. In the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park “When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.” Whether it’s a stranger leaving a surprise in your yard, or an apartment that has been used as a restroom, whatever the reason for the buildup of human (or animal!) waste, we can help you!

Cleaning Up Human Feces

Cleaning up human feces and urine is not something to take lightly! Businesses have gotten into hot water because they ask untrained workers to handle these kinds of messes, there is a reason you want to have proper training to handle any sort of human waste cleanup: human feces is a biohazard!

We have talked about what biohazards are previously on the blog but to put it quickly here: a biohazard is any biological substance that can be a threat to the health of living things, whether that’s blood carrying bloodborne pathogens or human tissues. Anything that came into contact with human fluid or waste can be the host for infectious diseases and human feces is no different.

Human Feces Can Carry:

zoomed in e coli, one of the things carried in human feces
E coli bacteria up close and personal! These are just one of the organisms found in human feces.
  • C-diff
  • Cholera
  • E. coli
  • Norovirus
  • Dysentery
  • Giardia
  • Salmonella
  • Hookworm
  • Ringworm
  • Tapeworm

The moral of the story? Human feces can carry a whole mess of biological organisms that are no good for you! That’s why you need to approach it with the proper precautions and training to handle it safely!

If it is a small amount (hopefully!) that you think you can tackle yourself, here is an easy, quick breakdown of how to safely clean up human feces!.

 

What You’ll Need

  • Cleaning Gloves
  • Disposable Bags
  • Paper Towels / Cleaning Cloths
  • Something to Scrape With
  • Dish Soap / Detergent
  • Bleach or Disinfecting Wipes

 

Step 1 – Scrape Clean

First thing first, scrape up as much solid waste as there is remaining. You always want to work inward, from the least soiled areas to the most to prevent unnecessary spreading. Toss that in a disposable bag.

Step 2 – Wet Wipe

Now using paper towels, cleaning cloths, or wipes it’s time to do a preliminary pass on the soiled area. Use hot water and wipe up the obvious mess. The hot water will help break up anything that has been allowed to set. Throw the disposable materials into the bag. This might take a few passes until it appears clean – it won’t truly be but that’s where we want to get it for this pass.

Step 3 – Disinfect, Disinfect, Disinfect

Depending how you are going about disinfecting there will be slight variations. For one, if you are using disinfecting wipes you need to be sure to wipe and leave the area wet for several minutes. Look at the manufacturer’s instructions for whatever disinfectant product you are using. You might be surprised to see it but for the chemicals to fully breakdown the infectious materials left by waste it can take several minutes. If you are using chemicals such as bleach, make sure you follow the proper procedure for mixing it with water.

Step 4 –Rinse and Let Dry

Once you’ve left the disinfectant on long enough to do it’s job, you can rinse off the surface, cleaning the chemicals from it. Wipe away with clean water, let it dry and you have yourself a safe surface once again!

On the small scale, these kinds of cleanups can be handled safely on your own, if you know what you are doing (hence this blog!) For large scale urine and feces cleanup, don’t try to manage it yourself, instead call in the professionals! The BIOClean Team will respond 24/7, promptly, and are equipped to get the job done correctly, and safely, for everyone involved.

Meth Cleanup Standards

Cleaning up the worst of the worst is kind of our bread and butter here at The BIOClean Team. Whether they’re after deaths, crimes, hoarding, or doing meth cleanup work, we do it all to our own high standards. Many of these have regulatory standards either state or federal that they must meet for the location to be considered livable again. Meth falls in a bit of a grey area as the standards vary on a state by state basi. The amount of residue of 0.1 ug/100cm2 is fine in Alaska with a written disclosure, while North Dakota doesn’t have any laws on the books for it. Some allow The EPA has a great document out on guidelines for meth lab cleanups but it’s a ‘voluntary’ guide, meaning states don’t have to use their suggestions. Confused? Don’t worry, we are here to help!

Meth Cleanup – Why it’s Needed, How it’s Done

Methamphetamine is a growing problem in America. NBC San Diego just did a write up on the situation, noting that San Diego was once the ‘meth capital of the world’ in the late 1980s. When those who are cooking it are busted, they leave behind a mess in the homes they use as laboratories. And it really is a mess that gets left behind.

Was Your Property a Meth Lab?

Over 50% of meth labs are found in rental properties. If you are a landlord and you see any of these telltale signs, you will want to call 911 immediately. Meth labs are dangerous, so don’t poke around yourself.

  • Cold Medicine

    • The key ingredient in homemade meth, pseudoephedrine, is found in cold medicine. If you see a large number of cold medication containers or discarded packages, it’s a clear sign.
  • The Smell

    • Home meth labs are rarely sanitary. There is usually a strong chemical smell. If the meth lab is active it may smell like paint thinner or varnish, ether, sour or vinegary, or have a smell like ammonia.
  • Equipment

    • Glass kitchen ware, rubber tubing, funnels, rubber gloves, large plastic storage containers, plastic soda bottles, dust masks. These are all signs that someone’s been using the place as a lab.

Why Meth Cleanup is Necessary

Proper cleanup following a meth lab is absolutely vital for anyone to live in the home safely. Exposure to the residue can result in symptoms similar to those who use meth such as nose and throat irritation, dizziness, nausea, headaches The effects of long term exposure are under study but these symptoms alone are enough to warrant cleanup.

How Meth Cleanup Works

Prep

First the structure is going to be secured. This is to prevent any unauthorized access to the contaminated areas. The whole idea of meth lab cleanups is to limit the exposure that people endure so making sure no one can enter without the proper gear is crucial.

Ventilation plays a big part in the cleanup process. The HVAC systems will be shut down before and during the cleanup process to prevent it from circulating residue and recontamination. Airing out the labs will allow fresh air to move through the home and help in the removal of fumes and odors.

Initial tests and samples around the structure are an important way to find out just what needs cleaning and what may be too far gone to safely decontaminate. Then a plan is developed covering the scope of work, the level of PPE technicians will need, everything that will go into the job is planned out here.

Clean

Once a plan has been made and the cleanup techs are geared up it’s time to start! Removing the contaminated material is the first step, discarding remaining meth paraphernalia as well as pulling furniture and porous materials like carpet if necessary. The EPA suggestions are to then allow the structure to ventilate for 24 hours following this initial removal.

Using a commercial grade vacuum and HEPA filters to do an initial cleaning of the floors and walls. This will remove some residue but doesn’t decontaminate entirely. It’s a necessary step but far from the last!

Once everything has been vacuumed it’s time for hard surface washing. We use specifically formulate cleaners, not bleach (bleach can have a chemical reaction with the chemicals used to create meth and can create a toxic gas). There will be a few passes of cleaners, thoroughly rinsing after each wash, moving from ceilings to walls to floors.

Remember that HVAC system? Now is the time to ensure that it is clean. The ducts will need a testing to see if they are contaminated as well (they likely are). The HVAC system will be cleaned and sealed.

Flushing the plumbing and septic systems is a solid idea here as well. Meth chemicals are often flushed through drains and toilets, causing corrosion. If there is a large amount of chemical waste in a septic or private waste water system it can cause problems.

Final Tests

When it all is said and done, more tests will be taken to ensure that the levels of residue are below the state standard.

 

This has of course been a brief overview. There are an incredible number specifics to the tools, the cleaners, and the process that we put all meth cleanup projects through. We want to ensure that no matter the state of the home when you call, when we’re done you are satisfied and can safely resume living there. If you suspect your home has been used for a meth lab and need restoration done, you give us a call. #WeCleanTheScene

After Death Cleaning Services – What Does It Entail?

One of the few certainties in life, death is inevitable. Unfortunately for everyone, we will have to have some experiences with death, whether our own or that of a loved one. For many, this final moment of life comes when they least expect, a heart attack in bed, or some other natural disaster. When people die at home, for whatever the reason, one of the things that must be taken care in the immediate aftermath includes cleaning up the home following the death. This time on the blog, we are going to go over after death cleaning services, what you can reasonably expect, and what’s necessary so that life can continue.

After Death Cleaning Services – Why is it Necessary

When the natural functions of the body fail, the intricate balance that keeps us put together starts to break down. The body cools, the blood pools, the body stiffens. The living microbes, the enzymes, and bacteria that exist inside the guts and in the world begin to break down the body. The body changes colors to green, purple, black. The bacteria create a gas the smells terrible and cause the body to bloat.

These processes create a biohazardous environment, as we have talked about blood, bodily fluids, and material potentially carry infectious diseases. For people to resume living in a place where someone has passed, rigorous after death cleaning services are necessary to sterilize and create a safe environment.

What Constitutes After Death Cleaning Services

As you might imagine, with that kind of a mess, the cleaning needed is pretty intensive – it’s not something you can take care of in an afternoon. The restoration or biohazard clean up company you hire, like BIOClean Team, will likely have a lot of intensive work ahead of them.

First, the team will assess the scene, looking for the potential areas of contamination. Much of the interior of homes are filled with porous objects. The carpet itself, couches, cushions, all of that can allow blood, etc. to seep in. Any furniture, flooring like carpet, or wall coverings will need to be removed. If they may have come into contact with the remains they may have been contaminated.

Using commercial grade cleaning agents, the crew will disinfect and clean the scene, destroying all potential biohazards in the process. All blood and biological material are removed, the area is sanitized and disinfected. Stains are removed, decontaminants are used, and deodorizers are applied to remove any foul lingering smell (which there no doubt will be).  This is the most critical part of the entire job.

All of the removed material and waste is disposed of in compliance with the state and federal laws to ensure there is no biohazard danger to anyone else.

All of this is done with the necessary gear (such as our PPEs) and up to the highest standard of health and safety in the industry, for both the workers and the inhabitants of the affected space.

When the space has been properly cleaned by a professional, you can then begin the process of moving forward. It won’t be easy of course, loss never is, but with a safe home to live in you can start putting the pieces back together.

Should you ever need after death cleaning services, you will want to reach out to someone you trust. It’s a trying time already and working with a company that is disreputable, cheap, or otherwise out for themselves, can only make the process worse.

The BIOClean Team approaches it like this, it’s a difficult, often terrible time for the people we help, all we want is to make it easier. That’s why we go above and beyond, to ensure that the problems are addressed. We talked about the process of choosing a restoration company last time on the blog, and should you ever need it we hope you give us a call. Our owner Stacy Houston has over 10 years of experience as a registered nurse in addition to the years with The BIOClean Team and her empathy and passion for service and truly helping people shines through in everything The BIOClean Team does. That’s a factor that other restoration companies just can’t match.