Safety Alert

Recently, BioSpecialists received a request for assistance at a crime scene, involving chemical suicide (“detergent suicide”) mitigation. This type of suicide has been a growing problem nationally, after originating in Japan, and apparently now in Maine. While any kind of trauma scene cleanup can be dangerous, a chemical suicide scene is particularly hazardous, for emergency service personnel, funeral home personnel and the public. Toxic fumes from mixing common, off the shelf products can be fatal when inhaled in moderate quantities. It is imperative that a chemical suicide scene be completely remediated by professionals.

BioSpecialists are experts at handling situations like these, using cutting edge technology to clean and disinfect a scene, as well as following strict safety guidelines and procedures. BioSpecialists can also assist funeral homes with response to these types of death scenes. We are the only company in Maine to utilize a portable Bio-Seal system, a product that allows us to completely seal the body of a chemical suicide victim, ensuring the safety of public safety personnel and funeral home employees.

Unfortunately, chemical suicide is an issue that funeral home personnel are going to have to learn how to respond to and deal with. BioSpecialists offers training and education programs on response to chemical suicides for funeral home directors and employees. We are available to travel to any location and instruct on the necessary precautions that must be taken when responding to and handling these hazardous cases. BioSpecialists is here to help make sure the responders and personnel have all the knowledge they need to deal with these types of incidents.

Bio-Specialists President Urges Support for LD 123

William York testifies in support of LD123Bio-Specialists President Testifies at State House; Urges Support for LD 123… Says it is all About Compassion

On February 19th, BioSpecialists president Bill York testified at the Augusta State House in support of LD123. LD123 would require people who recover or transfer body or body parts that have been donated to the State to be registered as an Anatomical Recovery Organization. These organizations must keep records of all the recoveries and transfers they perform, and there are penalties for not registering or keeping the proper records.

Here at BioSpecialists, we believe in the importance of this bill. It ensures that bodies are handled properly and respectfully by trained professionals. There are bio-hazardous risks associated with the handling of bodies, and it should be done by people who know how to keep themselves and the public safe. As Bill said during his testimony:

I believe that L.D. 123 will go a long way towards ensuring that the departed person will be treated with dignity and respect.  As a regulated carrier of medical waste, I can tell you that I am very familiar with chain of custody issues as they relate to biological infectious waste.  We know that our compliance with the law is an important part of ensuring that the deceased and all remains are treated with respect and that the chance of someone contracting an infection or communicable disease is greatly reduced when all of the appropriate procedures are followed. Again respect, dignity, and compassion should be paramount while dealing with human remains.

Bill has a lot of experience with this issue, both as the president of BioSpecialists and as the the owner of New England Livery Services LLC, which is a decedent transportation company. He says, “One thing I learned along the way is that everything that happens after a person passes away is for the remaining family and friends.”  Having a professional available to help with the transfer of a body eases the strain on the family and friends of the victim, and also keeps them safe.

Bill is happy to answer any questions about LD123, and can be contacted at 1-800-331-7731 or wyork@bio-specialists.com.

 

 

Could BioSpecialists Have Prevented PA Lawsuit

We recently heard about an unfortunate situation in Pennsylvania. A recently widowed woman bought a home with the idea of relocating with her children to be closer to family. A few weeks after they moved in, she was told by a neighbor that there had been a murder/suicide in her home the year before. The seller or real estate agent did not disclose this information to her. She is now trying to sue both of the other parties, and get her money back.

We know how traumatic this kind of news can be. The woman is probably nervous about what kind of biological hazards there could still be inside the house, and doesn’t know to what level the house has been cleaned. And perhaps the seller was nervous about disclosing the news to the buyer, for fear that she wouldn’t go through with the purchase.

Here at BioSpecialists, we can help. We can clean a crime scene using industry standards, and return it to it’s pre-incident level of cleanliness. We can then give the homeowner a clean bill of health, letting them know it has been fully remediated, with no biological hazards remaining. Had the seller in this situation had BioSpecialists do the cleanup, they could have felt comfortable disclosing the information to the buyer. The buyer would then have been assured that the house was safe.

Richard Shepard To Join BioSpecialists Full Time

BioSpecialists recently announced that Richard Shepard will be starting full time as Vice President of Operations on March 1, 2013. Shepard has been with BioSpecialists since its beginning three years ago, but has also been working as a Senior Investigator in the Maine State Fire Marshall’s office. He is now retiring after 26 years with the State.

While at the Fire Marshal’s office, Shepard performed various tasks, including: investigating fires and explosions, fireworks site inspections & incident investigations, and explosive magazine inspections, as well as mechanical ride inspections & incident investigations. Shepard was one of the Fire Marshal’s Office Certified Accelerant Detection K-9 Handlers, actually writing the original proposal for the program. He also conducted trainings across the state and New England for fire service and law enforcement agencies. Shepard started as an Investigator in 1987, after working previously as a law enforcement patrol officer. He cites a long career that involved a lot of high profile cases, including numerous fatal fire, arson and homicide investigations.

Shepard started BioSpecialists, along with President Bill York, in June 2010. Now that he’ll be full time, his duties will include leading trainings for fire, law enforcement, and EMS professionals, and funeral home directors and staff. He will also be supervising clean up scenes, and working with York on business development and management of staff.

Shepard notes: “I’ve had a very rewarding career in public safety for all of my adult life. For me, public safety and public service is always at the core. I began in the fire service in 1973, the EMS field in 1976 and law enforcement in 1977.”

He has recently rejoined the Casco Fire-Rescue as an on-call firefighter and is recertifying as an EMT. He is a certified NASCAR trainer and performs training for Speedway Safety Services, a group that provides EMS and fire service for the NH Motor Speedway, where he is a Crew Chief. He also works at smaller race tracks in Maine & New Hampshire and he is a race official for the Pro All Stars (PASS) tour.

Shepard is Maine born and raised, currently living in Casco. He is a former member of the Grange, and has been a member of the Gorham-Westbrook Odd-Fellows for more than 25 years. He is the founder and multiple-time President of the Maine Chapter of International Association of Arson Investigators.

 

How to Hire an Expert for Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup

The following is an excerpt from an article in Claims Magazine. It showcases the importance of hiring an experienced expert for the job of cleaning up a crime or trauma scene, to complete the job in a thorough and timely fashion.

Every claim and restoration professional knows that no two projects are the same — some are more complicated than others, especially those involving crime and trauma scenes. These jobs require a more thorough approach than most restoration projects. With that in mind, let’s compare how two different companies responded to the same gruesome situation.

A 20-year-old son was to house sit after his parents left the country for a long-planned world tour. But the joy of vacation soon faded when, three weeks after mom and dad departed, a neighbor smelled a terrible odor and called the police. When authorities arrived, they found that the apparently angst-ridden son had decided to take his own life in a room on the top floor of the two-story house.

The scene that they found was beyond comprehension. Blood and bodily fluids had seeped from the second floor to the first floor via the kitchen and then down into the basement. The odor was so severe that when police arrived, they immediately turned on an attic fan situated just above the body to evacuate the odors so they could continue working. To make matters even worse, the son was HIV+.

Where to Begin?

During the course of events, the insurance adjuster contacted a local bio-cleaning company. The technician/owner not only cleaned up the visible blood in the upstairs bathroom, but also the fluid that had overflowed into the adjacent loft area by removing the carpet and pad. Despite his diligence in disinfecting the hardwood floors and the visible blood on the kitchen cabinets (never opening a drawer where fresh blood was later discovered), the technician never entered the basement. In addition to these surfaces, the carpet also was affected, as a little dog that had been in the home at the time of the incident had tracked blood throughout the house. After cleaning the blood from the carpet with bleach, the technician declared the job complete, charged the insurance company $1,000, and left.

Read the rest of the article here.

BioSpecialists is the expert in New England for Crime And Trauma Scene Remediation. Call BioSpecialists first and it will be done right the first time. Get an estimate from BioSpecialists today.

Bio-Specialists Lends a Helping Hand in Florida

Last Spring we heard about an unfortunate situation near our offices in Florida. A person had passed away in their condo, and the death went unnoticed for weeks. After the body was removed, there was still a strong odor and an extreme fly problem. The couple living in the next-door unit were overwhelmed by the smell, having to pour bleach down their drains on a daily basis. They reached out to the condo association, who couldn’t help due to legal limitations on entering the condo. Also, due to OSHA regulations the cost of the cleanup was estimated to be quite high.

The situation was reported on by a local TV news station.

When we heard about the difficulties that the neighbors were having we knew we had to help. Dealing with body decomposition odors and swarms of flies in your home is unpleasant, unsanitary, and unsafe. We made arrangements to do the cleanup for free, to restore the condo to its healthful condition as quickly as possible.

The TV station came back and filmed a follow-up.

Here at Bio-Specialists, we are happy that we could help. We are experts at biohazard clean-up, and are proud to offer compassionate and efficient services.

BioSpecialists take on Necrotizing Fasciitis

Early last June, BioSpecialists received a request from from the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services (Hyde Park office) to remediate an East Boston apartment where two people were living and both were hospitalized from a serious infection with a flesh eating bacteria. Upon arrival on scene a Representative from the Mass EOHHS briefed us on the conditions in the home and instructed us what their concerns were. The BioSpecialists team mitigated all rooms, and disinfected/decontaminated the entire 2 bedroom apt. Removal of contaminated items was addressed and proper disposal of contaminated items was done using both state and federal guidelines. The owner of the property is now able to re-occupy the apartment with no issues related to contamination. We were on scene and completed the job in just under 6 hours, start to finish.

Media reports have popularized the term “flesh-eating bacteria” to refer to a very rare but serious bacterial infection known as necrotizing fasciitis. Necrotizing fasciitis is an infection that starts in the tissues just below the skin and spreads along the flat layers of tissue (known as fascia) that separate different layers of soft tissue, such as muscle and fat. This dangerous infection is most common in the arms, legs, and abdominal wall and is fatal in 30%-40% of cases. The most common form of nectrotizing fasciitis is generally Streptococcus pyogenes. Streptococcus pyogenes is a member of the group A streptococci, a group of bacteria that is responsible for mild cases of sore throat (pharyngitis) and skin infections, as well as rare, severe illnesses such as toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis.

In spite of public health awareness and efforts, serious drug resistant bacterial infections continue to be on the rise throughout the world.  BioSpecialists are ready to help. We can sanitize and disinfect a room, home, vehicle or business.

School is Open

Winter plus schools adds up to the spread of illness in the community

In the winter, schools are well known to spread much more than knowledge. Although some have argued that schools also perform an essential role in strengthening a growing child’s immune system by facilitating the spread of bacteria into the community. Unfortunately modern times find us suffering the plague of dangerous drug resistant bacteria such as Clostridium difficile (CDI or C-DIFF) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These biohazardous and difficult to treat drug resistant bacteria usually come about through treatment in long term health care facilities but can follow the patient home when they are discharged from the facility, and from the home children may take the infection to school. The bacteria can even be transported in their clothing.

BioSpecialists is the front line defense against the spread of illness in New England families, schools and communities

BioSpecialists is ready to support Communities and School Systems to be on guard and to prevent contamination of teaching spaces, cafeterias and athletic spaces. If a contamination or outbreak occurs BioSpecialists can work with schools to quickly contain and remediate the bacterial and viral infections. BioSpecialists provide training programs covering topics such as cleaning standards that can help schools to meet this challenging environment.

BioSpecialists can help school systems take measures including but not limited to:

  • Screening Programs
  • Surface Sanitizing
  • Isolation – Area Quarantine and Remediation
  • Hand Washing Education programs
  • Supply of N95 surgical respirations when needed

Don’t wait for an outbreak occur. Call BioSpecialists to help develop a plan to meet the new challenges of our time.

Physical Clean Up After a Tragedy Is About Helping People

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family’s and the victims of the tragedy in CT. We realize their lives will never be the same.

The services we provide here are about people. We don’t do this work because its fun, or easy, it’s about the people we protect. We protect first responders with education. We protect the public with safe practices in decontamination and disposal of bio hazardous wastes.

But most of all we help provide families with the closure after an incident has happened. We restore the property to a safe occupy able status. Removing all traces of any events that may have happened.

Our work is about helping people, in the most difficult times of their lives.

We were the cleanup company for the murder suicide at the Episcopal School in Jacksonville, Florida I have to say this was one of the worst scenes we have mitigated. Just the thoughts of what happened were over the top troubling. The personal devastation in faces of the people we in countered was so sad.

I have offered our services to the folks in Newtown CT free of charge. I find myself wanting to give something back to our neighbors to the south.

Does Your Stinky Car Require Bio Hazard Cleanup?

Big stink from small accidents in your car or truck

As a former auto detailer, I can confirm that some of the worst odors come from the smallest accidents.  In our mobile society we tend to eat far too many meals in our cars. Eating in the car will eventually result in spillage.

Add to this complex mixture the long New England winters where folks tend to put off cleaning their automobile until warmer conditions, by the time spring thaw comes along there is quite a bit of organic material buried beneath 5 months of trash to begin decomposing in the warming sun.

Spilled milk shakes, hamburger crumbs, meat fat and other food drippings that has soaked into carpets and seat cushions quickly become a repulsive stench and can be extremely difficult to remove. Small leaks from milk containers or meat coming home from the grocery store can cause big problems later. Fishermen and hunters who have transported their catch of the day may find that their car, truck or boat reeks the next day.

If you have tried to do the vehicle cleaning yourself and are still experiencing problems, using bio-hazard cleanup techniques is your next step. Give us a call and we clean up your car, truck or boat. We can even help manage the cleanup of fleets of vehicles.