Biohazard Cleanup – What, When and Why?

What Does Biohazard Mean?

When you hear the word “Biohazard”, what comes to mind? You may think of situations like the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, biohazards also emanate from traumatic events where blood, human or animal residues, chemical spills, and more are involved.

Biohazard Scenarios:

  • Crime or homicide scenes
  • Suicide or death
  • Blood and bodily fluid residues
  • Hoarding scenes
  • Animal waste or remains
  • Chemical/drug hazards
  • Virus contamination

Biohazard cleanup involves cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing areas where such traumatic events have occurred. Cleanup after these events is a serious business that not just anyone can handle. So, the threats involved posed by bacteria, viruses, and infectious diseases can put your health and safety at risk. Oftentimes, these pathogens are invisible, making cleanup an even more difficult task for the inexperienced.

You may think that if the police are involved, someone else will clean up the aftereffects. But the state of Illinois isn’t responsible for cleaning up crime scenes. After police investigators collect evidence from the scene, it’s up to the property owner to hire a biohazard remediation company. In any case, a professional cleanup team can arrive onsite only after the police have gathered enough evidence related to the crime.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is trained in the cleanup and remediation of all types of trauma situations. We have a team of highly professional experts in the Chicagoland area who have experience in these matters who follow proper training and safety procedures. We specialize in fast and thorough cleanup work to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved.

Does Biohazard Cleanup Require Certification?

To become a biohazard technician, obtaining certification is not required. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does require biohazard technicians to properly wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when dealing with bloodborne pathogens, because every time technicians handle potentially hazardous materials they’re put at significant risk.

The ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons team employs state-of-the-art protective equipment, along with cleanup and COVID-19 disinfection processes that follow strict safety protocols outlined by OSHA and EPA. Furthermore, we provide up-to-date bioremediation training for technicians that includes best practices, proprietary methods, and safety compliance.

The ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons Biohazard Cleanup Process

  • We start cleanup efforts as quickly as possible.
  • We remove all potentially infectious materials from the site.
  • Hazardous medical waste is handled in compliance with OSHA regulations. It’s then processed and sent to a licensed hazardous medical waste incinerator.
  • Technicians remove porous materials like fabric and carpeting following industry standards and Illinois state regulations.
  • Non-hazardous materials are either removed or decontaminated and sanitized if they are considered salvageable.
  • After cleanup and sanitization, affected areas are deodorized, and walls and flooring may be sealed to cover any remaining stains from the incident.

As with any type of property damage, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons ensure that our actions don’t worsen the sense of loss of a property owner. We strive to be exceptionally sensitive to these situations by showing extra care and compassion and do our best to understand that those involved may be emotionally vulnerable, and so treat grieving family members and other loved ones with respect and empathy.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, the 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, is MBE/WBE certified, and family-operated.  We are an IICRC Certified and OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com.

 

Don’t Be a Victim of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

servicemasterrestorationbysimonscarbonmonoxidepoisoning

Not very long ago, a couple made love in their car that was parked in their garage. Meanwhile, they not only left the vehicle running but were also operating a kerosene heater due to the extreme cold. Needless to say, they died due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Although that sounds like a sad and silly way to go, every year at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning and approximately 50,000 others are forced to visit the emergency room because of it. CO deaths regularly occur in Chicago and the stories are heartbreaking.

Why CO Is Dangerous

The reason why CO is dangerous is because it interferes with the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Being colorless, odorless and tasteless, people can be overcome without any warning. So, symptoms caused by exposure to CO include low energy, headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, visual impairment, and (obviously) death.

CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, kerosene heaters, vehicles “warmed up” in garages, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, portable generators, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces, poisoning people and animals.

When a storm knocks out power, many rely on portable generators to keep the lights on until electricity is restored. Fred Henretig, a senior toxicologist at the Poison Control Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says he and his colleagues have been attempting to raise awareness about proper portable generator use for years, but carbon monoxide poisoning cases unfailingly surge after each big storm.

“So what people tend to do — not always but it’s not unheard of — is just set it up like right next to the open garage door and they think, ‘OK, that’s going to work fine, it will blow out,’ ” Henretig explained. “The exhaust will blow out, but the trouble is, you can’t always account for different drafts and how things get vented around.”

Check The Facts

Research suggests that in natural disasters, carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators has the potential to take more lives than the disasters themselves. A study tracking confirmed deaths related to Hurricane Irma in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina in 2017 attributed 16 fatalities to carbon monoxide poisoning and 11 to the storm itself.

Here are ways you can you protect yourself from CO poisoning, whether a disaster has occurred or not:

  • Purchase and install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement.
  • Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months.
  • Have gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Keep vents and flues free of debris so as not to block ventilation lines.
  • Never leave a vehicle’s motor running while parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run any gasoline-powered engine within 20 feet of an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can seep into an enclosed area, or inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.

If your CO detector goes off during or right after a disaster, leave your residence immediately and call 911. If you feel light-headed, dizzy, or nauseated and suspect you may have CO poisoning, seek immediate medical attention.

If you live in the Chicagoland area and have recently experienced water damage, fire damage, smoke damage, or storm damage, necessitating the use of a generator, call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons immediately! The sooner we can restore your home or business to pre-loss condition, the safer you’ll be.

About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons:

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, the 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, is MBE/WBE certified, and family-operated.  We are an IICRC Certified and OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential  and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-376-1110 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com.

Can We Expect That Cooler Temperatures Will Affect COVID-19?

As the weather changes during Fall and Winter, we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s how cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19 and its spread.

cooler-temperatures-will-affect-COVID-19

It’s well known that the start of Spring signals the end of America’s flu season. As the temperature warms up, the number of people who catch the influenza drops dramatically. So it’s natural that, as the weather cools off and we’re in a global pandemic, people are asking: How will cooler temperatures affect COVID-19? 

When Covid-19 hit late last winter, hope reverberated around the country that it would dissipate with warmer and sunnier conditions. But as much as the weather affects the flu, it doesn’t do much for COVID-19. That’s why we still saw rising cases this summer — even with warmer weather, the end was not any more in sight. So what can we expect now that cold weather is once again on the way? The reality is this: the risks of a second wave are real, and we’re not quite sure yet exactly how cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19. 

Scientists remain divided on why winter is flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, but one of the most popular hypotheses is the increased time spent in sealed indoor environments. Another is a lack of sunlight, which compromises the immune system due to a lack of vitamin D. Similar to the flu, these are also factors in how rapidly COVID-19 may spread.

Cold Chicago weather makes people stay indoors where it’s more difficult to socially distance. And as the pandemic continues, people are beginning to get complacent about meeting in large groups, which has increased the reach of the virus. The upcoming holidays, where people enjoy getting together with family and friends, may well exacerbate the problem.

Another issue is that cold air typically means dry air, and to be comfortable, people tend to turn up the heat which further dries out their homes. Why is this a concern? In cold temperatures our mucous membrane dries out, making it much harder for the nose to filter pathogens. When airways are dry, it allows the virus to have easier access to the body.

A study published in the journal Transboundary and Emerging Diseases found evidence of a potential way that cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19. Their results said that the number of COVID-19 cases increased as the air became drier and the humidity level dropped. “There is growing evidence that climatic factors could influence the evolution of the current COVID‐19 pandemic,” the authors stated. “Overall, a decrease in relative humidity of one per cent was associated with an increase in cases of seven to eight per cent.”

Temperature and relative humidity can affect coronavirus transmission as the virus can survive longer at lower temperatures, the authors said. The virus can also stay “suspended in the air” longer at lower humidity, they claimed.

For all of the reasons above, some experts predict a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic during the coming fall and winter months. In other words, cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19 by causing it to spread more rapidly.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself From the Effects of Cooler Temperatures on COVID-19? 

  • Get a seasonal flu shot because it’s possible to get COVID-19 and the flu at the same time
  • Get good sleep, don’t let your body get run down 
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat healthily
  • Keep stress in check
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Increase ventilation
  • Use a humidifier during cold months 
  • To help keep mucous membranes moist, regularly use a drug-free saline nasal spray
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing 

All of those things will probably have a much bigger impact on the virus than the actual temperature. In any case, adhering to them could help mitigate the negative ways that cooler temperatures will affect COVID-19 and its spread.

Keeping your home and work area disinfected will also greatly help you. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides decontamination services to commercial and residential properties across the Chicagoland area, including Oak Park and the North Shore of Cook and Lake County IL. Call  us at 773-376-1110  or contact us here to schedule a consultation.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and the flu? It can be hard to tell.

Wondering what the difference is between COVID-19 and the flu? If you or a loved one is sick, it can be hard to tell. We’ve got all of the info you need to know to understand which virus it could be.

the difference between COVID-19 and the flu

Remember when a cough was just a cough? Most of the time it still is. After all, a cough is just your body’s way of responding when something irritates your throat or airways. Thus, an occasional cough is normal and healthy. But in the time of a global pandemic, coughs can be a concerning red flag of the coronavirus — and many people are wondering: what’s the difference between COVID-19 and the flu, and how can I tell which one I have?

This is especially concerning when your cough persists. Then, it could be from one of the seasonal allergies we suffer from in the Chicagoland area like ragweed. But if you’re also suffering from a stuffy nose, achiness, maybe a sore throat and the beginning of a fever, then they could be signs of flu, or worse — COVID-19.

First of all, don’t panic right away if you fall ill, but do take precautions to keep yourself isolated so as to avoid spreading either virus around. It’s important to realize that COVID-19 and the flu have many overlapping signs and ailments, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Some of the common symptoms that COVID-19 and the flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache

The similar symptoms can absolutely make it hard to tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu, but there’s one key thing to watch out for: If you don’t have a fever and your eyes aren’t itchy, it’s probably the common flu, not COVID-19. Flu symptoms usually appear from one to four days after exposure. 

When thinking about the difference between COVID-19 and the flu, know that the coronavirus appears to be more contagious and to spread more quickly than the flu. It’s symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure, and you may even experience the telltale loss of taste or smell. 

Be alert for emergency warning signs*of COVID-19. If someone shows any of these indicators, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

The only true way to know the difference between COVID-19 and the flu, and to get a definitive answer as to which one you’re suffering from is to be tested by a healthcare provider. You can discuss your symptoms with them to determine if you meet the criteria for testing.

While there’s no prevention for COVID-19 right now, you can avoid the influenza virus by getting a yearly flu vaccine. They’re easy to get at your local pharmacy and are usually available each year in the fall. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to be vaccinated against the flu to avoid a mistaken diagnosis of COVID-19 and preserve healthcare resources — this is especially important too given the fact that it’s so hard to tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu. And, contrary to some leadership sentiments, there is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases the risk of getting COVID-19.

Your best protections against COVID-19 and the flu are to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC – wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay at least six feet apart. Keeping your Chicagoland home and work area clean and regularly disinfected is also a huge step in staying healthy. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons can assist you with that. We’re experienced in dealing with viral outbreaks. We disinfect all horizontal surfaces and high-touch points such as door handles, elevator buttons, light switches, and so on. Then we use a specialized fogging system with EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectants to provide the most complete coverage and disinfection. 

*This list does not include all potential symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other conditions that are severe or are troubling you.

Is Bleach a Safe Disinfectant? Here’s How to Use it To Get Rid of COVID-19.

Is bleach a safe disinfectant? It depends. Read this guide to understand when bleach is dangerous — and why.

is-bleach-a-safe-disinfectant?

Chlorine-based bleach has been around for a long, long, time. It was invented in Europe in the late 18th century, and many consider it the be-all and end-all solution to their cleaning needs. And now with concerns about the coronavirus (Covid-19), people are using bleach as a disinfectant at increasing rates. And with this increased use, we’ve heard households wondering, Is bleach a safe disinfectant? While bleach can be dangerous in some instances, the good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a diluted bleach solution for disinfecting your Chicagoland home during Covid-19. (But make sure your bleach isn’t past its expiration date or it’ll be ineffective against the virus.)

The CDC recommends using the following solution on suitable  hard surfaces:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    OR
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Be sure to let your mixed solution set for at least one minute before using it to disinfect. 

When Is Bleach Not Safe?

However, for some soft or hard surfaces, the CDC does say that bleach is dangerous — and instead recommends that you disinfect with any of these EPA-registered household disinfectants. (They meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.)

Even though in general bleach is a safe disinfectant, it’s important to remember that it can do your house great harm if you’re not careful. This is because bleach contains chlorine, which is a dangerous chemical. Here are ten reasons why bleach isn’t always the safest choice for cleaning your Chicagoland home:

  • Chlorine lacks detergency – in other words, it contains no wetting agents that allow it to penetrate soils, so surfaces must be pre-cleaned before chlorine will effectively kill germs. This is a 2-step process that requires more time.
  • Chlorine is very caustic to human tissue. It can produce irritation and burning on your skin and could cause blindness.
  • Chlorine reacts with other chemicals to create toxic byproducts and gases. For instance, when bleach mixes with ammonia, it can form chlorine gas, causing cellular damage in nasal passageways and lungs. The accidental mixture of these two products has resulted in death. It’s also incompatible with products that contain hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, and acetic acid (vinegar).
  • It may harm your children. After using, bleach remains on surfaces and continues to emit fumes. Recent studies show that children who been exposed to bleach in their homes are more likely to suffer from respiratory illness. In addition, various studies have linked the use of bleach in a household to a higher prevalence of asthma and allergies.
  • Using bleach can hurt your pets. Your cleaning products can stay on a pet’s paws or fur. Since cats and dogs often lick themselves, they may ingest harmful chemicals. Due to their tiny size, birds can become sick upon inhaling only a small amount of the fumes. Bleach poisoning in pets can result in vomiting, convulsions, and sometimes death.
  • Bleach can kill mold, BUT it depends on the surface the mold is on. Mold grows on both porous and non-porous materials. When dealing with mold on non-porous materials such as shower tiles, tubs, vinyl window trims, countertops, etc. you can use bleach to kill the mold and disinfect. But using bleach to remove mold from porous materials like drywall and wood can actually accelerate mold growth rather than killing it! How? When bleach is used on porous materials, the chlorine is left on the surface and only the water component of the bleach is absorbed into the material, aggravating the situation as this provides more moisture for the mold to feed on, where it may then produce allergens and irritants. If your Chicago area home or business has a mold infestation, call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons to professionally remove it
  • Chlorine is extremely corrosive to metal surfaces and can permanently discolor countertops. It can also damage floor finishes, requiring them to be stripped and recoated, which is an expensive process.
  • Chlorine discolors fibers and colored surfaces. Carpets, upholstery, and clothing are just a few of the materials that may be damaged.
  • Chlorine bleach’s disinfectant power is rapidly inactivated by contact with organic matter, such as blood, saliva, tissue, urine, feces, dirt, etc. Chlorine is also weakened by sunlight.
  • Diluted chlorine bleach quickly loses its effectiveness, is unstable and can lose its disinfectant qualities very rapidly compared to other, more stable disinfectants.

Safe and Effective Alternatives to Bleach

If you’re looking for a safer alternative to bleach, here are some ideas:

  • Baking soda and white vinegar – they’re non-toxic and non-corrosive. Use them to freshen fabrics, eliminate grease, and clean glass. (Not effective against COVID-19)
  • Rubbing alcohol – effectively cleans plastic surfaces of electronics (A concentration of around 70% will kill COVID-19)
  • Hydrogen peroxide – it’s non-toxic and can be used to disinfect household surfaces. Unlike bleach, hydrogen peroxide is safe to use around food products. (Effective against COVID-19)
  • Soap and warm water – the basics! It’ll clean just about anything in your home and won’t present any health risks. (Follow up with a disinfectant to be effective against COVID-19)

Bleach is a safe disinfectant —usually. And, it’s a cheap chemical to find at the store, making a great purchase for families on a budget. However, although bleach products may be a bargain, you owe it to yourself, your family, and coworkers to use a product that truly cleans, thoroughly disinfects and is safe to use. We’re not saying not to use bleach to disinfect your home, but definitely consider if it’s safe in specific instances, and don’t be afraid to use alternatives that are just as effective if you are worried about it!

Sometimes, DIY disinfecting with bleach just isn’t an option. If you’re looking for COVID-19 disinfection or cleaning in the Chicagoland area, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We provide effective coronavirus cleaning and Decontamination Services to commercial and residential properties — complete with a stamp of disinfection! 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Choosing a Restoration and Cleaning Company in the Chicagoland Area

Facing a disaster? We know how to help. Here’s why we’re your best bet for a restoration and cleaning company in the Chicagoland area.

Choosing a restoration company in the Chicagoland area

Disasters are devastating. Whether caused by water, fire, storms or pandemics, they can turn your world upside down in a matter of moments. Even the strongest of us can feel helpless not knowing where to turn after a catastrophe. But fortunately for those who are looking for a restoration and cleaning company in the Chicagoland area, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons offers the cleanup help you need with the service you deserve.

OK, you might be thinking, but why ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons? After all, there are other restoration companies in Chicago who make the same claims of service and price that we do. Why not just pick one out of a hat? 

Well, consider this: if you had to undergo surgery, wouldn’t you insist on having a surgeon with extensive training, years of experience, and a sterling reputation to get you back to good health? Well, your property is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime — so you’ll want to choose a restoration company wisely. Similar to choosing the best surgeon, you’ll want to choose  a company with the knowledge, experience and reputation you can trust to make your property like-new again.

Restoration Certifications are Key

Almost all trade industries that take seriously the safety and health of consumers are required to get licensing — for example, electrical contracting and plumbing. However, the water and fire damage restoration industries are not obliged to get licensed, making it possible for anyone to start their own firm and do the job without proper training, knowledge, and skills. Unfortunately for homeowners looking for a reputable restoration company in the Chicagoland area, water and fire damage restoration is a super  complex job — one that shouldn’t be handled by those who don’t know what they are doing. 

To help instill trust in our customers and ensure we provide the best restoration and cleaning services possible, we’ve obtained our IICRC certification. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification was established in 1972 and formulates health and safety standards and manages the quality of work done by all types of cleaning and restoration activities. It is composed of more than 50,000 certified technicians and more than 6,000 Certified Firms around the world. We are so proud to be one of them. We closely follow their guidelines to ensure each job is done correctly, and we’ve done such a good job that they even featured our co-owner and Master Restorer, Sam Simon, in their publication last year!

Aside from our certification, we offer a variety of benefits to homeowners looking for a restoration and cleaning company in the Chicagoland area. Here are four reasons why you should rely on ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons for your restoration needs:

  1. Training – We never stop learning! We’re trained to IICRC high standards in fire and water cleanup and restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses. Additionally, our professionals regularly attend industry continuing education classes to hone their skills.
  2. Scope of work – Besides being water, fire and mold remediation professionals, we’re also IICRC certified in COVID-19 cleaning services, trauma and biohazard cleanup, post construction clean up, hoarder clean up, duct cleaning, carpet and upholstery cleaning and general cleaning. No job is too big or too small.
  3. Equipment – We use the most current professional equipment to find, clean, and remove the effects of water, mold, soot, smoke, odor and more. During the past few years, there’s been a rapid advancement in the technology and techniques used in the restoration industry. These advancements allow us to restore your property quickly, reliably, and more effectively.
  4. Experience – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is not some fly-by-night type of company. We started 20 years ago and boast an A+ BBB rating. The extensive knowledge, experience, and certifications we possess makes us the go-to Chicagoland disaster restoration company. 

We sincerely hope that you’ll never be in a situation where you need to call a disaster restoration company. But if you do, give us a shout to get the job done right. We are committed to serving as the best possible option for those looking for a restoration company in the Chicagoland area.

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Reopening Offices After Coronavirus: How to Maintain Safety

Stay-at-home orders are lifting across the nation, and offices are preparing to welcome employees back. However, with a global pandemic still looming, it’s ultra-important for businesses to ensure they are ready to reopen safely after coronavirus closures. In doing so, there are specific steps business owners need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as employees return to the office.  

prevent the spread of COVID-19 when reopening offices safely after coronavirus

Stay-at-home orders are lifting across the nation, and offices are preparing to welcome employees back. However, with a global pandemic still looming, it’s ultra-important for businesses to ensure they are ready to reopen safely after coronavirus closures. In doing so, there are specific steps business owners need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as employees return to the office.  

As they return to work, employees are looking to their employers to establish reentry procedures, as well as to ensure a clean, disinfected and healthy work environment. From coronavirus disinfection services, to reentry cleaning, to empowering employees via protective gear and extended WFH — here are some strategies you can use to promote employee safety and ensure proper cleaning and disinfection: 

Opt for professional cleaning and disinfection services

Before reopening your office, make sure you undergo a thorough coronavirus reentry cleaning. The best way to do this is to hire a professional cleaning or restoration company that can provide expert coronavirus cleaning and disinfection services. Look out for services that include fogging and the proper disinfecting products. While we always recommend DIY-ing it where you can, we cannot stress enough that your initial cleaning and disinfection before reopening should be left to professionals. 

Maintain workplace cleaning and disinfection 

Once your office reopens, you should ensure employee safety by conducting professional coronavirus cleaning services on a daily basis. Because so many people with coronavirus go unnoticed as they are asymptomatic, it is crucial to be better safe than sorry. The best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus in your office is to make sure every surface is properly wiped down each day, with fogging services every week or two. Additionally, you can encourage employees to maintain their own safety and disinfection by providing every workstation with ample hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Instruct employees to sanitize every few hours and to wipe down surfaces like office computers, desks and chairs after they are done using them for the day. 

Implement temperature checks 

Aside from commercial coronavirus cleaning services, the next best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your office is to keep blatantly sick employees out of the space. The CDC recommends implementing pre-checks and continuous monitoring, as well as encouraging sick employees to stay home. Before reopening the office to employees after coronavirus, survey employees to find out if anyone is having symptoms currently. Make sure you monitor those symptoms as offices reopen — and strongly discourage anyone who simply doesn’t “feel well” from coming to the office if work can be done from home. Once the office reopens, implement temperature checks just outside of the office’s front doors and send those who are running a fever home.

Encourage distancing and protective wear

Just because the office reopens, that doesn’t mean social distancing is over. As a country, we will likely be responsible for maintaining some semblance of distancing until a vaccine is discovered. Encouraging distancing within your office will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the office, in the building and in your greater city or township area. Make sure all desks are placed at least six feet apart, and use email communications, announcements and workplace signs to remind people not to touch one another in the workspace. This includes handshakes and hugs. You also want to remind them not to touch one another’s things. This includes sharing pens and office supplies. Finally, institute a mandatory mask company policy. Experts say that masks may reduce the spread of viral materials by blocking droplets that would otherwise travel through the air. 

Stagger your workforce

With social distancing at the office and on public transportation, it’s simply not realistic to expect everyone in a once-full office to come back to work immediately. Instead, authorities recommend that you stagger your workforce when reopening after coronavirus. One way to do this is by alternating weeks or days for different portions of the workforce. Allow one department to come into the office for one week, another department the next and so on. Another way to safely return to the office is by implementing off-hour shifts for some employees so that some work mornings in the office, and other work at nights. If you go this route, you’ll need to be sure you are cleaning and disinfecting the office in between shifts to promote employee health. 

Empower employees to protect themselves

A lot of employees are very anxious about the return to the office. Many people are fearful of getting sick, which makes them resistant to returning to a shared space where coronavirus could easily spread. Empower them to stay safe within their own comfort level and consider postponing your office’s reopen. It’s not a bad idea to send out a survey far in advance of announcing plans to reopen in order to gather insights about your employees’ biggest concerns. That way, you can tailor your reopen plans (or postpone them) if it will cause more stress than it’s worth. This is especially true in instances where employees are managing their workloads well at home and it is not essential to have them back in the office. 

Stay current on government guidelines

News and updates about coronavirus and its disinfection is coming out on a daily, if not hourly, basis. You don’t want to miss anything important that may impact your employees’ return to the office. Businesses everywhere should be following the CDC’s resource pages to ensure safety when reopening after coronavirus. The CDC has also released specific guidelines for coronavirus cleaning and disinfection in work places. Furthermore, business owners in Illinois and the Chicagoland area should be familiar with the ins and outs of Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, which provides specific information about how Chicago workplaces will need to promote safety as they reopen phase-by-phase. 

Above all else, offices need to reopen safely, thoughtfully and with a commitment to their employees in mind. These strategies are not an exhaustive list, and with a virus as contagious and deadly as COVID-19, every precaution needs to be taken. The most successful and safe office reopenings after coronavirus will combine all of these strategies and tailor their reentry plans to employee concerns. 

Experts suggest that professional COVID-19 cleanings with a staggered workforce, extended WFH and increased personal disinfectants and protective gear are the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus in your office. While we can’t supply disinfectants or advise your workforce strategy, our experts can provide the expert coronavirus cleaning and disinfecting services that you need to keep employees safe and healthy. We utilize fogging and surface disinfection to be sure that your office stops any potential coronavirus outbreak before it begins. Learn more about our coronavirus cleaning services and facility reopening cleaning services. Or, call us at 773-376-1110 to schedule your reentry cleaning today. We are standing by to help you in these unusual times. 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning,  Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visitservicemasterbysimons.com.

Guide to Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has arrived in America — and it’s spreading quickly. As the virus reaches pandemic levels, we know how important it is to stop the spread of coronavirus in your office or home. Helping you, your family and employees stay safe and healthy is our number one priority, so we’ve assembled some top tips for cleaning your spaces to prevent germs from spreading. Keep reading this Guide to Avoiding the Coronavirus to find out more.

how to prevent spread of coronavirus - ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons - Chicago - Oak Park/River Forest - North ShoreCOVID-19 – Coronavirus Prevention & Disinfection – ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons – Chicago – Oak Park/River Forest – North Shore IL

 

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has arrived in America — and it’s spreading quickly. As the virus reaches pandemic levels, we know how important it is to stop the spread of coronavirus in your office or home. Helping you, your family, and employees stay safe and healthy is our number one priority, so we’ve assembled some top tips for Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection, and cleaning your spaces to prevent germs from spreading. Keep reading this Guide to Avoiding the Coronavirus to find out more.

 

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus 2019 is the name of the newest flu strain to concern health officials. The outbreak of the virus began in Wuhan, China in December of last year. Though it is thought to have begun spreading at an animal market, we now know it can also be spread from person to person. Still early in its discovery, it has proven to be deadly, with a 3.4% mortality rate in those it affects. It causes severe illness and respiratory symptoms.

 

Who is at risk?

Anybody who comes into close proximity with another person who is carrying the virus is at risk of catching Coronavirus. That risk increases during international or domestic travel to places where Coronavirus has been especially prevalent. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing.

 

How do I know if I have a Coronavirus? 

One way to assess if you have Coronavirus is by your symptoms. Fever, tiredness, and dry cough are the three most common symptoms. According to the World Health Organization, some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. Other patients may never experience symptoms, but still, be carrying the virus around — making it hard to eradicate. A doctor can confirm the diagnosis with a laboratory test. If you have symptoms or are feeling unwell, head to your nearest medical professional as soon as possible.

 

How is Coronavirus treated?

As of now, there is no official cure for Coronavirus Prevention. Treatment measures tend to be supportive in nature to alleviate the symptoms, rather than the virus itself. About 80% of people who get Coronavirus will recover normally without complications; the most at-risk for severe illness and death are older-aged people and those with health complications or pre-existing medical conditions.

 

How can I protect myself and my family?

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, some health preventative measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus to your family and home are:

 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Wear a facemask when caring for or interacting with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Stay home when you are sick, keep kids out of school if they are displaying respiratory symptoms
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for more than 20 seconds each time

 

Aside from these preventative measures, you can also protect yourself by staying educated — keep up with the latest news for developments about the virus, and check out these government resources to learn more and stay on top of Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection. 

 

How do I prevent the spread of Coronavirus in my facility?

 

Encourage employees to stay home when sick, and be sure to disinfect surfaces and frequently-touched items in the office each day. Promote employee wellness by allowing them to work from home in the event of mild symptoms. Ensure you are providing adequate hand sanitizer, hand soap, and disinfecting wipes or sprays for employee use. Call ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons for immediate Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection services.

 

What do I do if Coronavirus spreads to my facility?

 

If you find that Coronavirus has infected your facility, stay calm, and remember that the situation must be handled with the utmost precaution. Close your building (if the industry allows, you can maintain operations by allowing work from home) to avoid contamination. Call your local restoration or biological cleanup company who will be able to disinfect the building with hospital-grade equipment and solutions.

 

How does ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons disinfect my facility?

 

Our professional team has developed a comprehensive process for Coronavirus Prevention and Disinfection with the proper precautions and hospital-grade disinfectants. We begin with a professional analysis of the contamination and determine a protocol based on your facility’s needs. Our highly trained technicians come equipped with decades of biological hazard cleanup knowledge and hospital-graded EPS-registered disinfectants.

 

The Coronavirus is a serious public health concern, and we urge all of our customers to do their best to follow precautionary health care measures and stay as safe and healthy as possible. We know that business can’t stop for anything: If you believe your office has been infected by the virus, give us a call today to begin the disinfection process. We are standing by to help you.

 

 

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park/River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Disaster Restoration Services including  COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Water & Flood Damage Restoration Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Mold Remediation, and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning Post-Construction Cleaning Carpet Cleaning, and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. ServiceMaster Cleaning By Simons provides Specialty Cleaning Services For Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.

Top Items for Tornado Disaster Kits

Tornado season is here! Are you ready? Increase your tornado preparedness this spring with these items for your tornado disaster kits.

Spring is upon us — and with it, comes tornado season. Are you prepared? Is your family? How about your home? Without tornado preparedness, they can cost homeowners huge sums of money in losses. And even worse, they cause dozens of human casualties each year. If there’s anything we can take away from the this week’s tornado tragedy in the southern US, it’s that the best time to prepare for a tornado was yesterday. You are always better to be better safe than sorry — which is why you need to be sure you have some very important items in your tornado disaster kit. 

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, our number one priority has always been to help homeowners be ready for the unthinkable and practice tornado preparedness. Our experts have lived through many tornado seasons and helped clean up their brutal destruction. We’ve seen just how unpredictable tornadoes can be, and we understand the biggest challenges homeowners, residents and victims face in their immediate aftermath. W

Based on our experience, we’ve put together a list of 7 life safety items that are essential for homeowners in their tornado disaster kit this tornado season. Proven to increase tornado preparedness, these are crucial for survival during and after a tornado, especially if one hits unexpectedly without time for evacuation. Store these items somewhere easily accessible in your home for immediate use:

Water

Of course, keeping hydrated is the most important thing you can do for your body in the event of a disaster. That’s a no-brainer. But what people forget to plan out is where that water will come from. If water lines are down or contaminated, or pipes are broken, or the power goes out, you won’t have access to your tap water. Make sure you keep some bottled water or a few gallons of water in an allocated shelter space in case you are stranded after a tornado. You never know how long you may have to wait.

Non-Perishable Food

In addition to water, stock up on non-perishable food items that will keep stomachs full – especially those of young children. Keep an eye on the expiration dates and replenish your supply as needed. We recommend having at least 5 days worth of food on hand for all members of the household.

A Radio

Keep a portable radio with extra spare batteries near your designated shelter space. In a weather event like a tornado, you can use it to listen for any updates or changes to the expected trajectory of the storm.

First-Aid Kit

We cannot stress how much of a difference a well-stocked first-aid kit can make after an emergency, especially one that is from a survival company. You never know what injuries, minor or major, will occur during a storm.

Medications

Not many people think of this one before the storm hits which can cause a huge problem for those taking life-sustaining medication. Have extra amounts of any necessary prescription medications stored away for use during an emergency. Keep a few bottles of cold medication, over-the-counter pain medication and allergy meds on hand too.

Cell Phones and Chargers

You probably don’t have to take our word for it that in the event of an emergency, you are going to want a fully-charged cell phone in your tornado disaster kit so you can stay in contact with family, friends and emergency personnel. If possible, keep a backup phone and a portable, solar-powered charger ready to go in case the power goes out.

Copies of Personal Documents

Of all the tornado preparedness items we’ve listed, this is probably one of the most important. Because there is never any certainty when it comes to tornadoes and other storms, you should keep copies of birth certificates, social security cards, house deeds, insurance cards, passports, and other important documents packed in a safe place that you can easily transport with you to your secure shelter.

Tornadoes are costly and sometimes lethal, but with these essential items for your tornado disaster kit, you’ll weather the storm more easily. 

Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons, we know weather emergencies like the backs of our hands. We pride ourselves on our emergency restoration services and storm damage restoration expertise. We will help you begin rebuilding so you can move forward after a life-uprooting natural disaster.  Our experts are standing by to serve you in the ways you need: From more tornado preparedness tips, to dealing with the aftermath of a disaster, to restoration services and cleanup, give us a call today!

ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration,  Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration,  Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning,  Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest, and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit servicemasterbysimons.com.