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Think outside the box

September 19, 2010
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Bio cleaning companies are sometimes faced with circumstances that cause “special projects.”

How a bio cleaning technician resolves the issues surrounding a special project that is not normally encountered often requires thinking outside the box.

Here are some classic cases of such innovation that you might consider when you encounter a “special project” of your own.

Warming up to the task
Cold weather is a problem in the northern regions when you have a project such as a murder or horrible accident happen outdoors.

There can be a couple of different ways to resolve these cases.

We approached a fast food restaurant where a victim from a shooting had dropped to the parking lot, bled out, and died.

It was 1 a.m. and the temperature was hovering around 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

There was a large pool of frozen blood that lay on the asphalt parking lot that was approximately 18 inches wide and 36 inches long.

If it hadn’t been so cold, the blood pool would have been twice that size, but as the victim bled out and the blood froze it stacked to a deeper pool than we would normally have encountered.

Since we knew from the call this would be an exterior clean-up in frigid weather we brought along a camping tent and propane jet heater.

After setting up the tent, it was placed over the incident area and the heater was then place just at the doorway.

A technician removed the majority of the frozen blood with a large-blade putty knife and placed it into the biohazard tub.

Then we began to heat the interior of the tent. After approximately 30 minutes, we raised the temperature of the ground surface inside the tent to a temperature sufficient to apply our disinfectant solution and absorbent to clean the rest of the blood pool.

The entire job from start to finish took approximately three hours.

Working in tight quarters
Another cold weather job was in the breezeway of a three-story apartment building.

A person ran from the top floor to the bottom floor seeking help from his attacker, bleeding profusely his entire route.

The temperature was in the teens and the other 11 tenants were upset they and their children had to walk around that mess.

Both sides of the breezeway had to be tented and the interior heated before any work could proceed.

The job took two days to set up and two days to complete as we had to hire a company that specialized in placing the tarps for the enclosure.

Remember, if the surface you are working with in cold weather lends itself to direct fire contact, simply use a propane touch to burn away the blood and tissue deposits.

High and far
We had a situation of a shotgun suicide on top of a parking garage of an exclusive shopping area in Kansas City.

Human debris was scattered as far as 70 feet from the point of the blast and it involved cars and the parking lot of the incident scene.

The debris flew across an open span and landed on the roof and side of an adjacent theatre.

The special project we were faced with came from the side of the theatre since the building stood three stories tall and the tissue and blood deposits were near the top.

It was impossible to bring in any kind of a lift so we had to hire a window washing company to set up a hanging rig, train the technician and put him over the side of the building so it could be cleaned.

For whom the bell tolls
We had a 75-foot bell tower to clean from pigeon contamination and we removed over one ton of pigeon dung from the tower.

The ladder rungs ran straight up the interior wall of the structure to gain access to the top rotunda were the birds were roosting and the birds, of course, had used the ladder for perches over the years.

The problem was that it was nearly impossible to hang on to the ladder and clean the rungs as we went up.

We had to employ fall protection as well as a mountain-climbing harness.

This allowed us to click onto a few rungs up above our work area and set back in a comfortable position to accomplish the work.

Let common sense prevail
Many special situations that may present themselves to your cleaning operation also will require fall protection or training in confined space as part of your out-of-the-box thinking.

In the end, the more you practice thinking out of the box you’ll realize that this approach is really nothing more that letting good old common sense prevail.

Don M. McNulty is president and founder of Bio Cleaning Services of America, Inc. He trains and certifies technicians in the bio cleaning (bio recovery) industry. More information is available by visiting
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