Recent Biohazard Posts

Crime scene clean up facts

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

Crime scene

Crime scene cleanup is a term applied to forensic cleanup of blood, bodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials.

CTS decon is a market within the cleaning industry, and it involves cleaning up dangerous material.

It is also referred to as biohazard remediation, and forensic cleanup, because crime scenes are only a portion of the situations in which biohazard cleaning is needed.

Incidents which may require this type of cleanup include accidents, suicide, homicides, and decomposition after unattended death.

This could mean the biologically contaminated scene of a violent death (homicide, suicide or accidental), the chemically contaminated scene of a methamphetamine lab, Or the residues left from a crime scene.

Crime-scene cleaners come in and restore the scene to its pre-incident state, also known as remediation.

Some of the cleaning services include:

  • Fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals.
  • Tear gas and pepper spray residues.
  • Fire extinguisher residue.
  • Blood, bodily fluids, and tissue remnants.

After the police have completed processing a crime or accident scene, the cleaning and restoring can begin.

SERVPRO of Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton will respond immediately with a crew that follows OSHA and EPA protocols and is specially trained and equip to safely clean crime scenes. If you find yourself in need of this service and need help with cleanup, call 603-298-6942.

The Facts about hoarding

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Hoarding

Here at SERVPRO of Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton; We frequently get asked about
hoarding and the clean up process. In lieu of just going over the cleaning
process, Lets go over some facts about hoarding,So that if you are ever faced
with this situation; You may find yourself in a better position to help.
According to the "International OCD Foundation":

What is compulsive hoarding?

Compulsive hoarding includes ALL three of the following:

  1. A person collects and keeps a lot of items, even things that appear useless
    or of little value to most people, and
  2. These items clutter the living spaces and keep the person from using their
    rooms as they were intended, and
  3. These items cause distress or problems in day-to-day activities.


How is hoarding different from collecting?

  • In hoarding, people seldom seek to display their possessions, which are
    usually kept in disarray.
  • In collecting, people usually proudly display their collections and keep them
    well organized.

What are the signs of compulsive hoarding?

  • Difficulty getting rid of items
  • A large amount of clutter in the office, at home, in the car, or in other
    spaces (i.e. storage units) that makes it difficult to
    use furniture or appliances or move around easily
  • Losing important items like money or bills in the clutter.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the volume of possessions that have ‘taken over’ the
    house or workspace.
  • Being unable to stop taking free items, such as advertising flyers or sugar
    packets from restaurants.
  • Buying things because they are a “bargain” or to “stock up”
  • Not inviting family or friends into the home due to shame or embarrassment.
  • Refusing to let people into the home to make repairs.

What makes getting rid of clutter difficult for hoarders?

  • Difficulty organizing possessions
  • Unusually strong positive feelings (joy, delight) when getting new items.
  • Strong negative feelings (guilt, fear, anger) when considering getting rid of
    items.
  • Strong beliefs that items are “valuable” or “useful”, even when other people
    do not want them.
  • Feeling responsible for objects and sometimes thinking of inanimate objects
    as having feelings.
  • Denial of a problem even when the clutter or acquiring clearly interferes
    with a person’s life


Who struggles with hoarding behavior?

Hoarding behaviors can begin as early as the teenage years, although the
average age of a person seeking treatment for
hoarding is about 50. Hoarders often endure a lifelong struggle with hoarding.
They tend to live alone and may have a
family member with the problem. It seems likely that serious hoarding problems
are present in at least 1in 50 people, but
they may be present in as many as 1 in 20. 

Are hoarding and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) related?

Compulsive hoarding was commonly considered to be a type of OCD. Some estimate
that as many as 1 in 4 people with
OCD also have compulsive hoarding. Recent research suggests that nearly 1 in 5
compulsive hoarders have non-hoarding
OCD symptoms. Compulsive hoarding is also considered a feature of obsessive
compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)
and may develop along with other mental illnesses, such as dementia and
schizophrenia. 

What kinds of things do people hoard?

Most often, people hoard common possessions, such as paper (e.g., mail,
newspapers), books, clothing and containers (e.g.,
boxes, paper and plastic bags). Some people hoard garbage or rotten food. More
rarely, people hoard animals or human
waste products. Often the items collected are valuable but far in excess of
what can reasonably be used.

What are the effects of hoarding?

  • Severe clutter threatens the health and safety of those living in or near the
    home, causing health problems, structural
    damage, fire, and even death.
  • Expensive and emotionally devastating evictions or other court actions can
    lead to hospitalizations or homelessness
  • Conflict with family members and friends who are frustrated and concerned
    about the state of the home and the hoarding behaviors.

Can compulsive hoarding be treated?

Yes, compulsive hoarding can be treated. Unfortunately it has not responded
well to the usual treatments that work for OCD.
Strategies to treat hoarding include:

  • Challenging the hoarder’s thoughts and beliefs about the need to keep items
    and about collecting new things.
  • Going out without buying or picking up new items.
  • Getting rid of and recycling clutter. First, by practicing the removal of
    clutter with the help of a clinician or coach and then independently removing clutter.
  • Finding and joining a support group or teaming up with a coach to sort and
    reduce clutter.
  • Understanding that relapses can occur.
  • Developing a plan to prevent future clutter.

How do I have a conversation with my friend of family member who is ready to
talk about hoarding?

When a person seems willing to talk about a hoarding problem, follow these
guidelines:

  • Respect. Acknowledge that the person has a right to make their own decisions
    at their own pace.
  • Have sympathy. Understand that everyone has some attachment to the things
    they own. Try to understand the importance of their items to them.
  • Encourage. Come up with ideas to make their home safer, such as moving
    clutter from doorways and halls.
  • Team up with them. Don’t argue about whether to keep or discard an item;
    instead, find out what will help motivate the person to discard or organize.
  • Ask. To develop trust, never throw anything away without asking permission.

More information can be found at https://iocdf.org/

If you are faced with helping a family member who needs to clean their home
after a hoarding situation, call SERVPRO of Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton. We can
take you through the process and ensure that everything is handled
professionally and as quickly as possible 603-298-6942.

Chemical Spill and bio-hazard cleanup Tips

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Toxic waste

Preparedness is essential!

Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health
consequences. A failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to
unhealthy and dangerous environments. SERVPRO of Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton have
professionals trained to safely clean and remove bio-hazardous substances and
dispose of them in accordance with OSHA and all health regulations.

Familiarize yourself and your employees with these simple steps in the case of a spill:

  • Make sure everyone is alerted to the spill
  • Determine the chemical nature of the spill, and check the Material Safety Data
    Sheet (MSDS). Remember that sometimes determining whether or not a waste is a
    “hazardous waste” is difficult, and that the best policy is to assume all
    chemicals should be handled as hazardous waste.
  • Make sure any electrical and spark producing equipment is turned off.
  • If there’a fire, use the fire extinguisher right away.
  • If appropriate, outfit yourself and employees in protective equipment or hazmat
    gear, including respirator, safety goggles and gloves.
  • If appropriate, evacuate yourself and your employees. If the chemical spilled
    is toxic, volatile, or flammable, evacuation should be carried out immediately;
    If the chemical spilled is hazardous or highly toxic, alert all appropriate
    authorities and call 911.
  • In the case of a small spill, create a barrier around the spill with absorbent
    materials such as paper towels, vermiculite, or sand.
  • Put up signs to prevent access to the contaminated area and warn of danger.

If your business has a policy or plan in place for these kinds of events, make
sure you know it well! If you do not have a plan of action in place or need a
more comprehensive and detailed plan to go along with what you already have;
contact SERVPRO of Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton and we will provide you with an
Emergency Ready Profile at no cost to your business.

Protect your home from sewer backups!

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Sewer backup damage!

Sewer backups can wreak havoc in your home and SERVPRO is Here to Help!

Most homeowners don't realize that they are responsible for the maintenance
and repair of their house and sewer pipe(lateral)that is, the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main (which is usually located in the street) and the
building.

What causes sewer backups?

  • Aging sewer systems. The American Society of Civil Engineers indicates that
    the nation's 500,000-plus miles of sewer lines are on average over thirty years
    old. The increase in the number of homes connected to already aging sewage
    systems has also contributed to rapid increases in sanitary sewer backups,
    flooded basements and overflows.
  • Combined pipelines. Problems arise in systems that combine storm water and raw
    sewage into the same pipeline. During many rain storms, the systems are exposed
    to more volume than they can handle, and the result is a sewage backup
    situation that allows sewage to spew out into basements and other low lying
    drains.
  • Tree roots. Seeking moisture, small roots of trees and shrubs make their way
    into sewer line cracks and service pipe joints, they can cause extensive damage
    or blockages as they grow larger. The cost of the clean-up will fall to the
    problem tree's owner. When the issue is a result of a combination of city and
    private trees, the costs are sometimes split between the city and the property
    owner.

How you can prevent backups

  • Properly dispose of grease.Cooking oil should be poured into a heat-resistant
    container and disposed of properly after it cools off, not in the drain.
    Washing grease down the drain with hot water is unsatisfactory. As the grease
    cools off, it will solidify either in the drain, the property owner's line, or
    in the main sewer causing the line to constrict and eventually clog.
  • Properly dispose of paper products. Paper towels, disposable (and cloth)
    diapers, hygienic wipes and feminine products do not deteriorate quickly and
    can cause a great deal of trouble in the property owner's lateral as well as in
    the city main.
  • Periodically cut tree roots. If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your lateral pipe, you may have to regularly have the roots cut by a professional.
  • Replace your line with new plastic pipe.Plastic pipe will prevent tree roots from entering your line. 

A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, damage to your house or business,Creating a biohazard situation! Prompt cleanup of affected property will help minimize the inconvenience and prevent
mold or further damage and should include.

  • Wet-vacuuming or removal of spillage
  • Mopping floors and wiping walls with soap and disinfectant.
  • Flushing out and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
  • Steam cleaning or removing wet carpets or drapes.
  • Repairing or removing damaged wallboard or wall covering.
  • Cleanup of ductwork


If you experience a sewer backup situation,contact SERVPRO of
Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton. We are Here to Help! Click Here 

Like it never even happened.

NEWSPAPER MENTIONS SERVPRO

7/5/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lebanon/Hanover/Littleton

‘Forever’ stigmatized 

Law remains firm over former meth lab properties By Allan Stein allans@eagletimes.comCopyright 2011-2016 Eagle Times, All Rights Reserved CLAREMONT — To a potential home buyer in Sullivan County, a property that has been labeled a former “meth lab” can be just as offputting as, say, a house tainted by murder or suicide.

The stigma “follows you around forever” — even after the meth house has been cleaned up and rendered safe for habitation, says Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway, who has prosecuted several illicit drug lab cases over the years.

“The biggest [effect] is it devalues the property. One of the biggest impacts of meth labs is there is always a notice that has to be given,” Hathaway said.

In the interest of public safety, New Hampshire law requires that a property owner, real estate agent or broker make a full disclosure of prior drug activity, including meth labs, even though it could jeopardize a sale. 

“No, I don't think it is unfair at all. Our duty is to disclose, disclose, disclose,” says Roz Caplan, a real estate broker at Century 21 Highview Realty in Claremont. 

“It is important that potential buyers hear problems with properties they are looking at to make an informed judgement as to whether they wish to purchase by hearing the news from us rather than from a stranger or a neighbor after they have purchased,” Caplan said.

In many cases, the property owner is left having to pay to clean up a meth house in order to meet public health and safety standards. Costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

“There is no such thing as an average cost because the variables are too many,” says Crystal Moses, a spokesperson for SERVPRO of Lebanon/ Hanover/Littleton, which specialises in chemical and biohazard cleanup. 

“Size, type, condition of structure, degree of contamination, the number of different exploits resulting in different contaminates, outside weather conditions, inside environmental conditions, contents, wall covers — the list goes on and on,” Moses said.

However, there is no law in New Hampshire that specifically requires cleanup of meth labs or other “clandestine chemical laboratories.”

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have collaborated to produce written guidelines for property owners for the safe removal of drug-related contaminants.

Moses said that a house that has been exposed to methamphetamine requires extensive cleaning.

“The reason to thoroughly clean a structure that has been exposed to chemical activity is to reduce and hopefully eliminate the risk of exposure to toxins and the risk of combustion and fumes. Toxins can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed. The chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine and other drugs vary widely so you are usually dealing with unknown substances,” Moses said.

Moses said that unless a property owner is trained and properly equipped with protective gear, it is not safe to do the work on his or her own. The potential for disaster is “vast and the risks are many,” she said.

Once the property is released to the owner, a certified industrial hygienist will then go through the property to test for residual chemicals. 

“Unfortunately, drug use is becoming so commonplace. We frequently clean up drug paraphernalia and other biohazards left behind from illicit drug use. So far, knock on wood, meth labs are still fairly rare,” Moses said.

In 2014, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency recorded 11 meth lab incidents in New Hampshire — about half the number in 2013. Nationwide, there were 9,338 confirmed meth labs in 2014.

Claremont Police Chief Alex Scott said that at least six meth labs have been shut down in the city during the past 10 years. 

Most of the sites were low-budget labs using the “one pot” method of creating methamphetamine. The one pot method involves “cooking” the highly addictive drug in a single small container, he said.

“I think it is important to understand the portability of the one pot method,” Scott said.  

Members of the DEA Clandestine Lab Task Force are usually among the first to arrive on the scene of a raid of a suspected meth lab. The agents wear full protective gear to avoid contamination.

In one case that Hathaway recently prosecuted, the judge considered making the convicted meth lab “enabler” pay for the cleanup at 27 School St. as a condition of his sentence agreement. 

Hathaway was able to obtain a partial figure of the cleanup work that needed to be done, and it was nearly $10,000.

“We are very fortunate that [meth labs] are not more common than they are,” Hathaway said.

He added that the law provides for the convicted criminal to pay for the cleanup, although it is not mandatory. 

Practically speaking, he said, the convicted meth lab operator or helper doesn’t have the personal finances to contribute to the cleanup in whole or in part.

“You have a remedy but that remedy isn’t worth much in a practical way in many instances. It certainly is not fair to the property owner any more than the property owner is the victim of a burglary or vandalism,” Hathaway said.

Copyright 2011-2016 Eagle Times, All Rights Reserved

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