Archive for June, 2013

It’s been a while since I posted here, so I thought I’d add a new FAQ post.  I get a lot of questions about this business, and thought this would be a good place to answer some of them:

  • WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE BODY?  Actually, we never see the body, unless we’re called while the police are still there.  We don’t start restorations until after the scene has been cleared by police, and the decedent has been taken to the funeral home or medical examiner’s office.  Often times, the scene will be closed for several days while a potential crime is being investigated, after which we can come in and clean up.  Sometimes, for instance in a suicide, the scene is released almost immediately, and we can come in as soon as we are called.  We are available 24 hours a day as the need arises.
  • MY TENANTS SMOKED METHAMPHETAMINE IN THE HOME, BUT NEVER COOKED.  IS OUR PROPERTY STILL A “METH HOUSE”?  Yes!  Cooking meth contaminates mainly the room in which it’s cooked, mostly by the chemicals used in the production of the drug.  Homes where meth is smoked are contaminated by the smoke, which effects the entire house.  In both incidents, the home has to be thoroughly checked and cleaned before it’s safe to inhabit, and in some cases, if the contamination is severe enough, the house is not salvageable.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking because meth was not cooked in your rental property, that it is not a danger to you and your tenants.  And as an aside, because I have heard this as well, when we present to a “meth house”, the house is already cleared of drugs and chemicals by police and/or hazmat units, so neither the drug, nor the chemicals used, are lying around waiting to be picked up!
  • DO YOU CLEAN WATER DAMAGE FROM FLOODS AND FIRES?  We can, but there are other companies who specialize in fire/water damage.  Service Masters is a good example of such a company, and we would be glad to send referrals over to someone better equipped to meet your needs in that department.
  • WILL YOU RESTORE OUR HOME AS GOOD A NEW?  We try our best to give you back the home you had pre-tragedy.; however, sometimes our decontamination process will require more restoration afterwards.  For instance, if tile has been broken from a gun shot, we can clean the room, remove the broken tile, and insure that there is no contamination in the wall or floor boards, but we do not do the tile work ourselves.  We do, however, have a team of independent contractors available 24/7 to help restore your home.  Our biggest concern is the safety of the people who need to enter the home after such an event; our colleagues are there to make sure you can enter with the least amount of visual trauma as possible.
  • WHY ARE YOU TAKING PICTURES?  We take pictures of every scene we work on.  These pictures are important to protect everyone in the event that there’s a misunderstanding, but more important, it’s an excellent way to document the scene for your insurance company, to insure prompt compensation for repairs and cleanup.  We do not use your family tragedy for before and after pictures, ever.  If the scene is not a private home or a situation where no one’s privacy will be intruded upon, we may ask for permission to include before and after pictures in our portfolio, but only with written permission.
  • I HEARD PEOPLE IN YOUR BUSINESS STEAL FROM DISTRESSED HOMES: While it’s true some companies are unscrupulous, this is also true of many industries.  One thing we like to do to protect both parties is a video walk through of the property with a family member in attendance, documenting what is there . . . and what isn’t there.  It’s not unheard of for some family members or friends to descend on a distressed home and try to claim property as their own after someone passes.  We do our best to make sure nothing disappears from the scene, and let family lawyers deal with distribution of property!
  • THAT (FILL IN THE BLANK) IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME; IT HAS SENTIMENTAL VALUE.  DOES IT HAVE TO BE DESTROYED?  We do our best to clean and preserve everything we can in a home.  Sometimes, however, an item might be too damaged or contaminated to save.  We discuss this with family, but try our hardest to make sure that family heirlooms are preserved in a condition that will allow them to continue to be passed on through generations.

If you have any question about this industry or our business in particular, please do not hesitate to leave a comment!

Enjoy your summer, be safe, and look out for one another!