You only need to watch TV for a few minutes before you come across a crime scene with HAZMAT professionals cleaning up the area from biological substances and other hazardous material. However, crime scenes are hardly the only situation where a HAZMAT cleanup is necessary. And if you think that this type of event only happens in movies and crime series, think again: HAZMAT cleanup incidents happen on a daily basis!
We are surrounded by chemicals and hazardous substances that can leak or spill. And we are often unaware of the number of biological hazards that can damage our health. For instance, for the last two years, HAZMAT cleanup services have been frequently required to disinfect Covid-19-infected buildings, nursing homes, and offices.
Dangerous substances and biological materials can harm you and affect your health. Unfortunately, they can’t be cleaned by simple household cleaning appliances and disinfecting products. Also, most people lack the proper gear or know-how to contain the damage and safely dispose of the unwanted material.
Additionally, there are strict EPA regulations regarding the disposal of such materials in a way that safeguards your safety and the safety of the whole community. For instance, you cannot leave lead or asbestos residue in a common dumpster.
A professional restoration company can help you secure your home and clean it up safely and professionally.
What Are Hazardous Substances and Biohazards?
Although these two terms seem quite similar, they are not.
- Hazardous substances refer to non-living organisms. Hazardous substances include lead, asbestos, mercury, gas, oil, acids, toxins, propane, or any other non-biological but dangerous substance. These materials can be flammable, corrosive, or toxic and can cause serious damage to people’s health if inhaled or touched.
- A biohazard, as the name suggests, is derived from living organisms. Biohazards include blood and other bodily fluids, vomit, animal waste, sewage backup, as well as bacteria and viruses.
What Types of Incidents Do HAZMAT Specialists Respond To?
Here at Valley Restoration and Construction, we have responded to asbestos incidents in homes and offices. We are certified as Colorado State General Abatement Contractors for asbestos removal and have been called repeatedly to remove asbestos from houses, offices, and other buildings.
We are also often called for mold infestations. Mold removals can be particularly tricky, as it can be hard to know if your home has dangerous molds. In many cases, only professionals with the right tools, equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), and cleaning products can sort out a mold problem.
There are plenty of other incidents where a HAZMAT specialist is required, from rodent infestations—complete with droppings—to gas or oil line spills, sewage backup from a clogged pipe, or even hoarding cleanups after a house has been left vacant for years.
What Does a HAZMAT Cleanup Team Do?
HAZMAT is short for Hazardous Materials. Accordingly, a HAZMAT team is responsible for cleaning up an area that contains hazardous materials, biohazards, or both in a way that is safe for the crew, the environment, and the people who normally occupy the area.
What Does a HAZMAT Cleanup Team Wear?
The team is wearing HAZMAT gear. This includes gloves, personal protective equipment (PPE), chemical spill boots, and even respirators if there are toxins and other materials or biohazards that present a health risk or endanger the cleanup crew’s safety.
Does a HAZMAT Team Work with Household Cleaning Products?
A HAZMAT team doesn’t use your average cleaning products and paper towels. They have professional cleanup equipment such as special waste containers for hazardous materials with strong bags that seal tightly.
All the cleaning equipment is geared toward heavy use. Also, after the cleanup, a lot of the equipment will be disposed of, including buckets, brushes, brooms, mops, and sponges: none of these can be used in another incident.
The cleaning materials used are industrial strength: aside from bleach, there will be professional deodorizers, cleaners, and disinfectants that work for chemical spills and toxins.
The experts need to ensure that all surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned. That includes ceilings, cracks under the floor, and even the tiniest space under the stairs. They require far-reaching brooms, brushes, and ladders as well as different-sized ones to fit in all spaces.
First, the HAZMAT Team Evaluates the Scene
Just with any other emergency, a cleanup team needs first to go to the scene and evaluate the situation.
This team of professionals will see whether the spill or the chemical or biological hazard is flammable or corrosive. They will also estimate whether it’s toxic to inhale. If there is a danger of fire, they will turn off any electrical appliances (fridge, washer, boiler, or heater) that could start a fire. In the event of sewage backup, they may turn off the water.
The HAZMAT Teams Contains the Damage
The next step is for the HAZMAT experts to contain the damage. It’s far easier to clean up a small area like a room than an entire house.
A professional will make sure all areas are checked for contamination. That means they will check the HVAC system for airborne bacteria. They will also check the fan’s blades, the areas behind appliances, and the space under the carpets to make sure no fluids, bacteria, mold, lead, or asbestos has found its way into the house’s smallest nooks and crannies.
Only after the damage has been fully contained and controlled will the team start to clean the space with professional cleaning products and industrial equipment.
The HAZMAT Team Will Dispose of the Dangerous Material
It is illegal to dispose of hazardous materials and biohazards in a common dumpster. There are strict EPA regulations that must be followed. You removed lead or asbestos from your home because it’s dangerous to your health. It is equally dangerous to other people’s health and should be disposed of according to health safety guidelines.
Your remediation and cleanup contractor will take care of all your cleaning and decontamination needs. The HAZMAT team will package the waste, tightly sealing the content in the right bags and clearly labeling them with their content. You will be seeing the combination of appropriate equipment, experience, and intimate knowledge of EPA guidelines.
The cleanup crew will also handle the proper disposal equipment and dispose of hazardous substances depending on their source. Some materials will go to waste incinerators while others will go to EPA-designated areas to be terminally eliminated.
Valley Restoration and Construction for Asbestos, Radon, and Mold Removal
It doesn’t matter if it is your home or office building that requires professional cleaning: Valley Restoration and Construction will ensure a clean and safe space for your family or colleagues.
If you need HAZMAT cleanup, call us now at 970-964-4437 or contact Valley Restoration and Construction. We are available 24/7 online and will restore your home to its previous condition with minimal inconvenience to you.