It's Not if, It's When
Encountering a scene that involves blood, body fluids or human waste can leave property management with the question of what to do. Do you call maintenance? Do you call Corporate? Does the waste end up in your property dumpsters? Can you inadvertently be putting yourself, your employees and other tenants at risk?
Society has become wiser and more cautious when it comes to biological contaminations. We now know that blood and air borne pathogens like Tuberculosis, MRSA and others are highly contagious and diseases like Hepatitis can live outside the body for up to 3 weeks in the right conditions! A person that has contracted Hepatitis C can live for years without symptoms and not even know where they contracted it. Taking a proactive stance now to prevent exposure and protect both staff and residents pays off in the future.
All too often, Alliance Environmental Group gets calls from property managers that are trying to undo an improperly cleaned residence. We recently received a call from a property manager who had her maintenance supervisor approach her with a problem. The tenants were complaining to him regarding a foul odor coming from the dumpster. Although the manager was aware of a suicide that recently happened in her building, she was not aware of the well-intended family members. They cleaned the scene themselves and then placed all the biohazardous affected material into the dumpster.
Her company protocol when a situation like a suicide or undiscovered death was to call the police and report it to corporate. The police, fire department, and coroner were all on the scene. It never occurred to her who would clean it up. She just assumed that one of those agencies would handle it.
The family had no idea of what to do, so they took it upon themselves to clean up and dispose of the bloody furniture and other items in the property dumpster. Once the dumpster incident was reported, the manager called her corporate office. Fortunately, someone in corporate had dealt with a similar scene at another property and put the manager in contact with us. Thankfully, this waste never reached the landfill! If it had, then the management company would be responsible to get the landfill clean of any newly contaminated items. After that narrow escape, corporate implemented a universal policy for all their communities to ensure that this type of incident has a clear procedure in place.
Larger populations and ever-growing communities mean that you are more likely to come across these situations - It’s not if it’s when. Being proactive will help eliminate the risks of infections from medical emergencies, suicides, undiscovered deaths, resident conflicts, and many other scenes involving blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials. Knowing what to do in these types of situations will protect your staff and keep your residents safe as well as limit your corporate liabilities.
It is time for you review your policy on bio and trauma clean up. Now is the time to ensure your procedures include a clear plan to protect you, your staff, and your tenants.
About Alliance Environmental
With more than 75 years of experience, Alliance Environmental Group, Inc. is one of the leading environmental contractors in California. Alliance Environmental provides innovative solutions in the areas of asbestos, lead, and mold abatement; air and HVAC duct cleaning; heat treatment for pest control; structural pasteurization; demolition and emergency response. The company has successfully completed more than 120,000 remediation projects in California and surrounding areas. For more information, go to www.alliance-enviro.com.