Biohazard is a word not often used in our daily vocabulary. Simply stated, it refers to biological substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily that of humans. And unless you spent a lot of time in high school pouring over the Biology books and looking forward to the labs where you handled those pathetically dead frogs, you might not have heard of the word at all.
In the restoration industry, biohazards are usually encountered when responding to crime scene clean ups or to the untimely death of a loved one. Any bodily fluid that is expelled, particularly blood, can pose a threat to those who come in contact with that fluid. For that reason, First Restoration Services takes the handling of such situations very seriously.
Proper crime scene demeanor as well as industry standard cleaning protocols have always been considered “tools of the trade” at First Restoration Services. But not every biohazard is a result of a crime. The death of a loved one resulting from suicide, or even natural causes, can result in the release of biological substances that need to be properly managed and cleaned.
Derek Henderson brings more to the industry than just his vast knowledge of cleaning techniques.
Having begun at First Restoration Services in 2009, Derek began his employment in the Emergency Services Department where he was among the technicians responding to emergency water losses and fire calls. Certainly his time spent on the job afforded him opportunities to learn, and for a little over a year, Derek plunged through the waters and sewage of the emergency world (literally) until his servant style of leadership brought him into the limelight. In late 2010, Derek was promoted to Cleaning Department Manager, and from that seat a whole new world began to emerge – one that included the trauma and drama of life intermingled with lives that would be forever changed.
While Derek’s daily duties as Cleaning Department Manager might take him into the home of a hoarder where he deals with decades of drier lint that the homeowner somehow cannot seem to part with, he may also be called to a fire loss where he is knee deep in debris and contents that the homeowner desperately (and instantly) desires to have cleaned and/or preserved. On other days Derek may find himself in the midst of a crime scene or unattended death scene, consoling a relative who has come to visit that aunt they had been unreachable on the phone, only to discover upon arrival that she died a week ago and her home now wreaks of life that has given way to death. At worst, he may be called to investigate the cleaning of a suicide where a gunshot blast has driven blood and body parts into the floor joists and walls of the home. With that tragedy awaits his steady and compassionate heart, consoling those left behind who are struggling to make sense of a suddenly chaotic situation, while at the same time demonstrating his professionalism and knowledge of the cleaning industry.
Possessing an inner strength that Derek contributes to the work of the Lord Jesus in his life (intermixed with the consistent encouragement of his wife, Wendy), no task is considered too gruesome or demeaning for him to undertake. Encountering such devastating circumstances throughout the course of a day’s work might leave some heavy-hearted, but not Derek! Derek truly exhibits calmness in the midst of the storms of life, and that calmness regenerates purpose to lives that have otherwise been painted with misery and all loss of hope.
By definition, restoration is the art of bringing something back to its original condition or better. Think about that for a moment.
While typically we ponder on items such as homes, contents or even automobiles as items that can be restored once they have been damaged in some way, seldom do we imagine that our very lives may be crushed to the point of needing restoration. Furthermore, the opportunity for full recovery from loss if restoration does occur rarely exists.
And yet, that is exactly the story of triumph from devastation that our Emergency Services Manager, John Gentry, brings to us.
Not unlike many in today’s society, John grew up without an important figure being present daily in his life. The separation and divorce of his parents when he was nine years old brought about a lifestyle change that at first threatened to strangle his boyhood, but in the end actually birthed in him an independence and strength that would be unmatched by many of his peers.
Only shortly after John and his mom sought lodging in his grandparent’s home, his grandfather suffered a stroke. The only dominant male figure left in his daily life was no longer able to communicate in the same way with him. Neither were there any more opportunities to be had with his grandfather for tossing a baseball back and forth, or for long walks through the streets of Brevard where he was growing up rather too rapidly – not by any choice of his own. Devastation upon devastation seemed to overtake his young life. And yet for John, there were no second thoughts or backwards glances about what he was to do.
Chopping wood and mowing grass became second nature to John’s young frame. Being the only able-bodied male in a house with three women and an invalid, there was little time for deciding between boyhood and manhood. John watched and listened to those around him while he delved into the role of caretaker for his grandfather, grandmother, mom and sister. And as he did so, he grew to love and respect the quiet strength and strong work ethic that he saw patterned in his grandmother, and adopted such as his own standard for living.
John grew up quickly, leaving high school on the road to greater opportunity. That is exactly what brought him to First Restoration Services in 2004. John began his career path by immediately incorporating the grunt of hard work that he had learned and adopted as a boy into his day to day routine. His first job was pulling insulation from a crawl space – not a glamorous start by any means, but one in which his backbone efforts won him recognition as a man who was tough and capable. As he continued daily with his nose to the grind at First Restoration Services, he continued strengthening his own personal belief that integrity is a learned and practiced trait and one that was worth patterning for others. He hired his younger brother to work for him at his home with every intention to teach him just as he had been taught – that hard work pays off, and that one’s worth is often simply found in a job well done.
In 2007, John was voted to be Employee of the Quarter by the other department managers. At the same time, John’s enthusiasm for his job heightened, but it wasn’t until 2009 when John was promoted to Emergency Services Manager that the real seat of honor was taken. The company had changed its voting procedures slightly over the years, allowing technicians and other employees to enter into the voting process along with the managers. With that change, John was voted Employee of the Year in 2011.
While to some there may be no significance associated with that event, to John the difference came in knowing that the technicians he supervised every day awarded him that title, and with it their respect. To be sure, when an emergency call comes in, John is on the scene, either personally or through the veins of his teaching as his technicians plunge elbow deep into the mire of the job at hand.
Never is there a doubt that when a disaster happens, John is at the helm of making sure that it is taken care of thoroughly, diligently, with integrity, and always….with a reminder of his grandmother’s smile and nod of praise.
The Restoration industry fronts many faces. Certainly at First Restoration Services we have the equipment, the knowledge, the expertise and the integrity to carry out the services of a top-notch restoration company. So what is it that literally sets us apart from all the rest?
There is a definition that is on the horizon of nearly every up and coming industry today, and that definition is simply stated as Value Added. But just exactly what does “value added” mean at First Restoration Services?
To most of mainstream America, “value added” is the enhancement added to a product or service by a company before the product is offered to customers. And at First Restoration Services, our value added enhancement added to our service before we ever set foot on your property comes in the form of our technicians and managers.
Let’s take a look at it from our perspective –
The icemaker that you thought was safely hidden within the confines of your refrigerator’s freezer compartment has a line running to it that most of us never dream would leak (and some of us don’t even realize is there!). And as a side note, have you ever once stopped at the door of your fridge to wonder how in the world that great big appliance got shoved back into that tiny little space, and then panicked only to think that you might one day need to pull it out of that hole?!?
It’s midnight, and your trip to the freezer for that late-night bowl of ice cream that you hope to hide from your spouse leaves you with more than a cold tongue as your feet splash over the icy water now running from underneath the refrigerator/freezer. Gone are all thoughts of mint chocolate chip as you scream for your beloved, sleeping spouse to come to your rescue.
And with your call to First Restoration Services, our “value added” service begins to come alive. We dispatch our crews immediately to your emergency, and our technicians arrive at your home not only in a timely manner, but they are professionally dressed, in recognizable vehicles so that you don’t have to wonder who is pulling into your driveway, and they greet you with a politeness and professionalism that you thought went out with your great-grandmother’s apple pie!
Our technicians’ excellence in both their work and in their demeanor is fueled by their individual beliefs and values that were at the core of their being when they first came to First Restoration Services for employment. And as they progress through each day of service with our company, they have opportunities to both prove and improve their work ethics and skills.
In the weeks ahead, you will be introduced to our technicians and managers. We want you to know personally the men and women that allow us to serve you with the “value added” enhancement that we believe no other restoration company can come close to boasting of. As you delve into their own personal stories of restoration, we believe you will begin to experience with us the lives that enhance the fabric and core of First Restoration Services and make us able to say without a doubt, when disasters happen, we take care of them all!
“Remember happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.”
Meditate on encouraging yourself and others.
Vehicles play a big role in our everyday life. The majority of people have a vehicle so they can get back and forth to work, travel and other things. The one thing that I know people hate to do is to wait on a tow truck to come pick up their car because it broke down. So make sure to have the maintenance done on your vehicle on a regular basis. A few items that you can check yourself is the following:
Tire Pressure and Wear
Washer Fluid Level
Wiper Blade Wear
Transmission Fluid Level
If you don’t know how to do the items listed above then find a preferred mechanic that can check these items and look over the vehicle to make sure everything is fine. Also talk with the mechanic about a tentative outline of certain things that need to be done at a certain mileage to prevent problems from occurring or keep them to a minimum.
In this months issue of Cleaning & Restoration, First Restoration Services’ Owner Chris Silliman was featured in the magazines “Last Word” section. Click Below to download PDF.
I can think of only a few things more devastating than suffering a total loss from a fire. In fact, loss of a life might be the only thing topping such a disaster. It is no wonder, then, that restoring lives is at the core of what we do.
When the fireman’s call to duty is sounded, our call to duty is fueled by the hearts in the homes of those who have suffered loss. We certainly respond rapidly to the call, and without a doubt we busy ourselves with the tasks before us to clean, to restore and to reconstruct a home. But what of the lives that have been scorched by the flames of the loss? Behind every other move we make, people motivate our response.
Recently we had the privilege to serve a woman whose home had literally disintegrated into ashes around her. And yet, I witnessed this woman move in and out of our office and our lives carrying more dignity and hope than most of us could even dream of possessing. Our technicians worked alongside her on site as she sat barefoot among the ashes on that barely 20 degree day, having lost all to the fire except a few somewhat salvageable items. And yet at the end of their first day on the job, their reports were of her laughter.
The few coats that the firemen were able to salvage had been tossed aside in a nearly building in their frenzy of putting out the blaze. When I called to check on her the day after we received the call of her loss, her only request was to see if we might be able to get her a coat cleaned…but “don’t rush; I know you have other things going on now besides this one loss.” Really? Don’t rush? And that was the very day that our technicians witnessed her in flip-flops, sorting through the ashes of what once was her solace – her home.
People, not loss, are what sound the cry that echoes in our hearts long after the work has been done and we have clocked out for the day. When our technicians return from a job site, they might utter a word or two about what they entailed on a job, but more likely, their words will reflect the faces and the very hearts of those they have had the privilege to serve that day.
First Restoration Services is certainly at the forefront of restoring homes to pre-loss condition – or better! But fueling the passion for delivering a service that is detailed with integrity, quality workmanship and deep professionalism is a heart for the people we serve, and an understanding that what others have just experienced in their loss is perhaps the most devastating encounter they have had to experience in this life. And if not the most devastating, certainly one of mammoth proportions that deserves our utmost care and concern.
Since we have had such a warm February, it has given me the itch to start my spring cleaning early this year! This is the time of year we all get the itch (or feel like we should) to do some spring cleaning around our homes. This year, as you clean out each room and closet, we encourage you to do some documenting of your particularly costly or meaningful contents. If you later have damage to your home affecting these contents, you will be happy that you have these pictures when trying to settle your claim. It will also allow you to help us restore your contents to their previous condition. As always, we encourage you to review the value of the items in your home to ensure that you have sufficient coverage if the unimaginable happens.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
First Restoration Services Celebrates 25 Years in Business
(Fletcher, NC, January 24, 2012) – 2012 marks the 25th anniversary that First Restoration Services of Asheville is in business. First Restoration Services has been providing insurance restoration services to residential and commercial customers in Western North Carolina since 1987. First Restoration has executed over 7500 jobs in the past twenty five years, along the way earning numerous praise and accolades from respected industry associations.
First Restoration Services is an independently, family owned and operated business and has been a Disaster Kleenup International Member since 1995, which helps to provide them unlimited resources to labor and equipment to accommodate any size disaster. They have served local residential and commercial customers in addition to many noteworthy customers such as The Biltmore Estate, Grove Park Inn, Mission Hospitals, and many historical landmarks in the area.
For Full Press Release Click Here
Hardwood Floors? No Problem!
Hardwood and tile floors require special attention from restoration companies. Many people believe that replacement is the only option when their hardwood floor is effected in a water loss. However, this is not always the case. If First Restoration Services is called into action on a water loss before the floors have begun to buckle (buckling occurs when the nails begin to pull through the floor) in most cases we are able to save the floor. This top rated equipment, when paired with our hardwood floor drying panels, have saved many homeowners and insurance companies thousands of dollars in replacement costs.
How does it work?
The black panels you see in the picture to the right have been placed on the hardwood floor with an air tight seal placed around the edges. The small yellow lines that you see are then attached on one side to holes in the panel. The other end of the line is connected to the larger yellow suction line. This line is connected to the Injectidry system forming a suction underneath the panels. Air will travel from between the subfloor and the hardwood floor through the grooves between the boards, bringing with it any moisture. This system combined with very dry air from our desiccant dehumidifiers will pull the moisture right out of the wood.
When dealing with any water loss, a fast response time is a critical factor in mitigating the loss, and it is especially important in the case of hardwood floors. The longer they are wet, the greater the chance that buckling will occur. So the next time you’re dealing with a wet hardwood floor, don’t just count it as a loss.
For PDF Click Here