Bio-One of Poway decontamination and biohazard cleaning services

Check On Your Loved Ones

Apr 28, 2021

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As summer approaches, it will become more apparent how many elderly live in homes that are not properly air conditioned. Extreme heat causes stroke, heat rashes, heat cramps, and exhaustion. The elderly can be much more susceptible to the dangers of extreme heat during the hot summer months. Because of this, decompositions are much more common this time of year. They could be more frequent due to the heat being a part of the cause of death, but the heat is also why they are discovered sooner.

Recently, we helped out when a veteran was found deceased in his home after a couple of weeks. With summer temperatures beings so high in the Poway area, the decomposing body progresses faster and can cause even more damage to the property itself. Carpet, vinyl flooring, and tow layers of subfloor all had to be removed when cleaning the home. Sometimes, in order to properly remove biohazards and bodily fluids, we have to remove flooring, walls, cabinets, etc. or the smell and hazards will continue to be present. Any smells that remain lingering in the air of the residence can be removed with our Ozone machine. 

It is so disheartening to think about this veteran who fought and sacrificed for our country remaining undiscovered in his death for so long. Check on your friends and family you haven't heard from in a while-- especially the elderly. Summer months present a completely different set of dangers than the colder months. We should all be checking on our loved ones more often and making sure their air conditioners are working properly. Many elderly are too proud to call their families and admit they are living in the sweltering heat, either due to lack of funds to pay the higher bill, or because they aren't able to call the HVAC company to come fix their unit. Just like Bio-One Poway, your loved ones are just a phone call away!

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Apr 22, 2021

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We, along with Bio-One of Oceanside, were honored to sponsor a table at the 8th annual ‘Guns & Hoses’ Golf Tournament supporting the Solana Beach Fire Department and benefitting the

Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness. The founder, Ashley Iverson, who tragically lost her husband, Cory, in the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, CA in 2017 is truly inspiring and encourages us all to remember that we are not alone. It was such a privilege to be involved in this wonderful event alongside our friends from Bio-One of Oceanside!

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The Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness says,

"It is our mission to raise awareness of the mental and emotional state within first responders, help remove the stigma that tells them they are unfit for the job if they are not mentally sound, and shift the culture; encouraging them to be proactive within the workplace and actively work to improve their mental and emotional health."


To learn more about this incredible foundation, visit their website here.

Mar 31, 2021

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After seeing a post about him on Nextdoor, we decided to reach out and help Les, a 79 year old gentleman who has been living out of his car in Del Mar for the last 5 years. He loves people and being in the outdoors and is loved by many who catch up with him at a local McDonald’s he frequents. Les was recently diagnosed with skin cancer and for the last few weeks has been hospitalized chemotherapy and radiation treatment. His car is no longer functioning and he is very uncertain about where he will go after his treatment. Even with the struggles he has recently been through, Les is still friendly, kind, and sharp as a tack. 

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We offered to clean out Les' car, as it has been sitting inoperable for a few months and became very full and infested with insects. We were able to retrieve and preserve a few personal belongings that Les requested, like his paperwork and clothing. We cleaned out the rest of the car, disposed of the garbage, vacuumed, and sanitized so that the car will be safe to either trade in towards another car or donate.

While we were working, we were approached by so many community members that were familiar with Les and concerned about his absence. It was very clear that he has touched many lives and is so loved by his community.

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Les grew up with his step brother and sister on a farm in Pennsylvania. The farm was next to a golf course, where he found his love of golf and worked as a caddie for many years, even for some professional golfers. At 17, he drove out to California with the dream of making it in the Land and Acquisitions business. He attended Santa Ana Junior College and was briefly married to a nurse. Les then moved to Del Mar, where he enjoyed many years of success in Real Estate. He loved riding his bike all over town and walking on the beautiful beaches. Les loves the outdoors and is a sports enthusiast— he is an avid fan of the San Diego Padres! He also loves to read and has spent many afternoons at the old Borders book store and the Solana Beach Library. He lived most of his adult life in a condo right on the beach in Del Mar, which was his favorite home. Due to financial hardship, he had to put his belongings in storage and live out of his car. Sadly, after he was hospitalized, he was not able to pay for his storage unit and lost everything. 

Les collected a huge number of friends over the years due to his outgoing personality. He mentioned that he outlived most of them because of his healthy love of nature and exercise. Those we were able to speak with describe Les as extremely intelligent and full of ideas. These days, Les loves to be out and about, visit the library, and go for his favorite ice cream (Handel’s), which has been kindly delivered to him in the hospital.

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We have been so taken with Les' story that we want to do more. We have set up a GoFundMe page to help Les replace his current vehicle with a reliable vehicle, get it registered, and pre-pay his insurance. We would also like to get Les a new pair of glasses and a set of dentures. Any extra money would go towards his living expenses like food and gas. Les is a well known person in the Del Mar community and has touched many lives, as people still leave food on his car for him while he has been in the hospital. He is a kind and honest man, who simply fell on some bad luck. Please help us show him that his community is here for him by following the link below to donate and share our fundraiser with your friends.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-les-get-back-on-his-feet/widget/large/

Dec 30, 2020

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It's a brand new year and after the chaos of 2020, we are definitely ready for a fresh start in 2021. One common way to welcome in a new year is to set resolutions for ways to improve your life. These are often goals you work towards or new habits that you put in place, resolving not to tarnish your fresh start by slacking on these new objectives. While some people set health and fitness goals, or choose to practice a new hobby, our favorite New Years resolution involves a physical fresh start-- decluttering!

Clearing out the space in your home can sometimes be a daunting task, but with less clutter clouding your mind, you will have the mental capacity to be more productive and energetic in other areas of your life, as well! We often help with hoarders' homes, but if your rooms are less complicated and you want to give decluttering a try yourself, here are some of our favorite tips:

  • Know what you want your home to feel like. Should it be spacious? Peaceful? Open? Bright? Understand how your clutter is keeping you from reaching that end goal.
  • Ask yourselves these questions when you're going through your belongings-- 1) Do I truly need it?, 2) Do I truly love it?, 3) Would I trade my inner peace for this thing?
  • Create three categories: Keep, Trash, and Sell/Donate. Get a trash bag for the garbage and a box for the things that will be donated or sold and add items to whichever container as you go through your things.
  • Commit fully to your decluttering routine. Once you begin something, see it through to the end-- and continue to follow through even when the decluttering is done. When you bring a plate to the sink, go ahead and put it in the dishwasher. When you change clothes, don't throw them on the floor, but put them in your hamper.
  • Part with unnecessary memory clutter-- you aren't obligated to keep family heirlooms you don't even like, pass them on to a family member that might appreciate them more! As far as your own sentimental items, take pictures of things you want to remember and, if you aren't using it, pass on the thing itself.
  • In your closet, turn all your hangers backwards. When you wear an item of clothing and return it to your closet, hang the hanger facing the right way. After 6 months, look to see how many items of your clothing you haven't worn and decide which pieces you really need to keep.
  • Have a designated space for every item. This way, you know when something is out of place and where to return it to. If you can't find a place for something, maybe you need to rethink whether you should keep it!

There are so many methods for decluttering your home, but these are some of our favorite tips to add to any decluttering process. If you need help clearing space in your home, Bio-One of Poway is here to help in a compassionate and discreet manner. Whether you consider yourself a true hoarder, or if you are just overwhelmed by the clutter in your home, we can work with your budget and availability to assist you with your decluttering process. Give us a call today at (858) 261-4527

 Dec 02, 2020

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Suicide does not have one single cause. Certain factors like substance abuse and untreated depression can lead to higher risk of suicide just as having a trusted group of friends can help protect you. Read more about the warning signs of suicide, risk factors and protective factors of suicide.

CALL 911 OR THE EMERGENCY SERVICE IN YOUR COUNTRY IF YOU SEE OR HEAR THE FOLLOWING:

  • Someone threatening to hurt or kill him/herself or talking about wanting to die. Especially if the person has a weapon or item to hurt himself/herself. 
  • Searching for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to lethal means-whether that is online or physically in the moment of despair. 
  • Someone talking, writing, or posting on social media about death and suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person.

The warning signs of suicide are indicators that a person may be in acute danger and may urgently need help.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself;
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself;
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose;
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain;
  • Talking about being a burden to others;
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs;
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless;
  • Sleeping too little or too much;
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated;
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge; and
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

If you notice a sudden sense of calm and happiness in someone after them being extremely depressed, that can mean the decision has been made to attempt suicide. If you see the warning signs, you need to SPEAK UP. But what if you're wrong? What if they get angry?  Yes, the conversation will be difficult and uncomfortable, but it could save a life.  

WAYS TO START A CONVERSATION ABOUT SUICIDE

“I have been feeling concerned about you lately.”

"Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.”

"I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately."

You'll find more helpful information and resources about suicide prevention on the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education website.

And emergency, professional help is a phone call away:

NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE

1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)  

or text "SIGNS" to 741 741

for 24/7 anonymous and free crisis counseling

Oct 28, 2020

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Pulling the heavy particle-board away from where the front door used to be, we had no idea what awaited us in this single-story four-bedroom home in a quiet cozy neighborhood in Rancho Bernardo. The homeowner, now deceased, had been a recluse in his home for the majority of his adult life, but according to neighbors, hadn't left his home at all, nor allowed anyone else in, for at least 20 years. The front door of the home had been cut off by first-responders during a welfare check, and the hoard of expired food, broken furniture, and other garbage was wedged all the way up to and against the door. Because no one could physically get into the house to assess the work needed, we went into this job not knowing exactly what was going to be required of us, but ready to contend with whatever was ahead.

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In the above photos, you can see the living room, dining room, and kitchen, piled high with the impedimenta of an isolated life indoors. The homeowner was a veteran of the Vietnam War and he lived in the home, which was passed down to him from his parents, from the time he returned from his service until his death. Neighbors we spoke with attributed him to be a highly intelligent, albeit idiosyncratic, individual. Not one neighbor had an unkind word to say about the man that occupied this hazardous home, even though his pest and rodent problems, as well as his unruly landscaping, traversed their property lines for many years. 

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The bedrooms and bathrooms were piled high with trash, cases of unopened food, and an impressive collection of electronics and computer parts. The bedrooms and bathrooms were all growing black mold. Neither the kitchen nor the bathrooms had any working plumbing, and we suspect that the homeowner went without running water for quite some time.

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One intriguing mystery in this house was a padlocked door we found near the entrance of the home. There was a masking tape sign with a handwritten note: "Don't even think about it!" The padlock itself was wrapped in more tape. Unable to explore the layout of the home, we weren't sure if this was a room or a closet, nor what could be concealed within. After carefully cutting the lock off, we were relieved to discover a closet full of computer hard drives and spare parts! 

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The garage was another major unknown in this project as we weren't able to get into it from the outside, and the garage entrance inside the home was blocked by the hoard. We did not gain access the garage until a few days into the job when we had finally cleared out enough stuff to uncover an entry point. We had no idea what we would find! The car the neighbors had seen the homeowner driving before withdrawing completely into his home was nowhere to be found.

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While the yard was not used to store hoarded items, it was overgrown and attracting rodent nests, which were then making their way into the neighbors' yards and homes. In addition to our regular cleaning crew, we called in exterminators to clear out the pests in the attic and landscapers to clean up the front and backyard. 

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The cleanup, remediation, and sanitization of this home took a full week and a large dedicated group of technicians to complete in 95 to 100+ degree temperatures while wearing full protective equipment. We removed over 24 tons of waste from this house, which is now ready to be renovated and become the beautiful home of a new family.

It is so fulfilling to be able to help the members of our community clean up and regain their homes. Even though the homeowner was not around, we still wanted to approach this job with compassion and sensitivity. We all enjoyed learning about him through the neighbors' colorful stories and the fragments of his life we uncovered as we worked.

The most defeating feeling was that we were not able to help this homeowner while he could still be around to enjoy his space. If you or a loved one are suffering from hoarding tendencies, please don't hesitate to contact a company like Bio-One to get started on the path to recovery today.

Sep 30, 2020

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Photo from Animal Humane Society

You crack open the door to the dark room and are hit with a gust of dense acrid air. As your eyes adjust to the low light, you’re able to make out cages and carriers stacked on top of each other. Too many pairs of glowing eyes blink up at you through the filth. Does this describe an experience you’ve had in the home of a friend or loved one? 

What Is Animal Hoarding?

Animal hoarding is an accumulation of animals that has overwhelmed a person’s ability to provide minimum standards of care, including nutrition, sanitation, shelter, veterinary care, and socialization. In many cases, the hoarder believes that they are helping their animals and denies their inability to provide adequate care. Because animal hoarding is such a complex and intricate issue, we approach these cases with the utmost empathy and compassion. A big part of our mission is to help the members of our community find resources for their hoarding tendencies and recover their homes. 

There are several signs that may indicate someone is an animal hoarder: 

  • The person has multiple animals and may not even know the total number of animals in their care. Animals can range in species from cats and dogs, to reptiles, birds, rodents, exotic animals, or farm animals.
  • Their home has deteriorated (ie. dirty windows, broken furniture, holes in the walls and floors, extreme clutter, etc.)
  • There is a strong smell of ammonia and the floor may be covered in dried animal feces or other excrement. 
  • The animals are in bad health and are poorly socialized.
  • Fleas and other pests are present.
  • The person is isolated from the community and appears to neglect themselves.
  • The person insists that their animals are happy and healthy even though there are clear signs of distress or illness.
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Photo from Daily Record.

Why Do Humans Hoard Animals?

Some animal hoarders start collecting animals after a traumatic event or loss, while others feel that they are rescuing the animals from a life on the streets. Overwhelmed caregivers have a strong attachment to animals and often, sometimes, falsely, believe that their situation is the result of a recent change in their circumstance like health or financial issues. When someone intervenes, they often welcome the relief of help. Rescue hoarders believe that they are the only ones that can adequately care for their animals. They are usually in complete denial about the dangerous or unhealthy conditions in which their animals are living. All hoarders feel a responsibility to protect their animals from society. 

There is no single cause of animal hoarding, but it can originate from attachment disorders in conjunction with personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia, delusional thinking, depression, memory loss issues, or other mental illness. Animal hoarders often appear intelligent and truly believe they are helping the animals in their care. Many hoarders have the ability to garner sympathy from others or deceive others into believing their situation is under control. They usually cannot see or understand that their animals are actually suffering. A person of any age, gender, or race can become an animal hoarder, but the elderly are most susceptible because of their own deteriorating health and isolation from the community.

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How Can I Help?

It's important for us as onlookers to be compassionate and caring in regards to a situation as sensitive as animal hoarding. Many people immediately assume that a person found hoarding animals is callous or "crazy", when really, this person is dealing with delicate and complicated psychological issues. Like object hoarders, animal hoarders rarely seek treatment without motivation from loved ones. Removing the animals from the hoarder's home does not teach them to better manage their lives or prevent future hoarding. Without therapy that addresses the root cause of what led to their hoarding, the hoarder will return to their old habits and refill their newly cleaned space.

If you think someone you know is struggling with animal hoarding, here are some ways you can help:

Animal hoarding is a community problem that causes suffering to both humans and animals. It can devastate families, cast judgments on communities, and be difficult to resolve. Removing animals from someone's home can be very difficult to get through and requires a lot of reassurance and patience.

Every year in the United States, a quarter of a million animals are affected by animal hoarding. Although it is considered animal cruelty, the prosecution process is lengthy, difficult, and usually not very effective, as hoarding is a psychological issue. If someone you know is hoarding animals, take action and follow the suggestions listed above to help them and their animals get the care they need. 

Resources:

Understanding the Human Aspects of Animal Hoarding, Amanda I. Reinisch

Animal Hoarding; A Complex Issue, ASPCA

A Closer Look at Animal Hoarding, ASPCA

Animal Hoarding, Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Animal Hoarding: What It Is, What It Isn't..., Animal Humane Society

Jul 28, 2020

Animal Hoarding: What Happens to the Animals Once They Are Rescued?

Animal hoarding is something that is more common than you might think. And unfortunately, it is on the rise. The most common animals that are hoarded are cats and dogs and hoarding can consist of hundreds of animals. The media shares a lot about animal hoarding cases, but what they do not talk about as much, is what the animals go through once they are rescued. 

There are 3 major things that are seen with animals once they are rescued, malnourishment, disease/illness and severe trauma. Rescuers work hard to help the animals regain their health, but it is a big undertaking and can cost thousands of dollars. Every animal that leaves a hoarding situation needs to be examined by a veterinarian and the vast majority will need some type of medical care. Some will need lifelong care, and those animals are usually harder to find homes for. In addition to that, these poor animals have undergone trauma by the hoarding situation and by the rescue. These animals normally come from dirty, tight quarters with little veterinary care and without enough food or water. It is traumatic. It takes time, patience, money, and usually foster homes to get the animal ready for adoption. Sue Marue the founder of the Arizona based cat rescue, Ark Cat Sanctuary had this to say, "We have taken in dozens and dozens of cats from all over Arizona that have been rescued from hoarders. The lucky ones can be up for adoption within weeks. But for some, they will never be ready for adoption and will live out their days at Ark or we cannot save them because they are just too sick. We have one little tabby that we rescued from a hoarder in Phoenix over a year ago that just last week allowed us to pet her and love her. Sometimes it takes that long. The problem with that is most rescues cannot take a year for an animal to come around. They don't have that kind of space or time. It isn't their fault, it is just how it is. We deal with overpopulation, under-funding and just not enough help. Unfortunately, it’s the animals that suffer." 

As a community, how can we help? What impact can we make? 
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 Please contact your local animal rescue to make a donation or volunteer your time (We here at Bio-one Poway support the San Diego Humane Society, for example)
* If you see an animal in distress, contact authorities
* Let the animal hoarder know that it is okay to ask for help
* Contact your local social services department 

For more information on how to identify an animal hoarder please visit  https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty/animal-hoarding/closer-look-animal-hoarding 

Jul 22, 2020

Watch Bio-One of St. Louis expertly handle this hoarding case, making a life-changing difference to both Carol and her family. When we think about hoarding, it can be difficult to properly grasp just how deleterious it can be not only to the physical infrastructure of a building, but also the emotional infrastructure of a family. A&E does an incredible job bringing these issues to light and we highly recommend you watch this episode if you want a better idea of what a hoarding case can look like and the toll it can take on those affected by it. If you, or someone you know, is dealing with hoarding, please reach out to the experts here at Bio-one and we will do everything possible to alleviate any challenges you're facing. 

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Jul 16, 2020

It is believed that 1 in 50 people have serious hoarding problems and may be as high as 1 in 20 people. Hoarding can be minimal and not impact one’s life much, but it can also be severe and drastically impact one’s life. Hoarding looks different for everyone, so it is important to look at every person individually. That said, here are a few factors that can put someone at higher risk for hoarding:

~ Other family members being hoarders (living with a hoarder during younger years)

~ Experiencing a trauma

OCD (it is believed that 1 in 5 people who are diagnosed with OCD are also compulsive hoarders)

There are some key things that many people exhibit if they have hoarding tendencies. If you do notice these things, it is important to talk to the person about what you are noticing from a calm, non-judgmental place.

~ They have a hard time getting rid of things, even if there is no perceived value 

~ They will spend their money on buying things they don’t need rather than buy things essential to day to day living

~ If they must get rid of something it causes them distress

~ Items in home make it hard to navigate through and cause safety hazards

Hoarding can affect a person on many different levels. Relationships, health, and safety are some of the main things that can be impacted.

Relationships

~ Isolation (many people shut out their friends and families for fear of judgement)

~ Anger in Family (if the family knows about the hoarding, conflict can ensue because of frustration and not understanding the situation)

Health

~ Mold growth is found quite frequently and can cause many health problems

~ Rodents and bugs are common in homes with compulsive hoarding and can carry diseases such as hantavirus

~ When pets are involved, the urine and feces can carry disease and also cause very bad air quality

Safety

~ Slip and falls are common due to debris on the floors and unsteady floors

~ Structural integrity is often compromised

~Stacked items in home can fall and injure someone

~Excessive debris is a fire hazard

It is important if you are experiencing hoarding disorder to seek help. There are licensed therapists that specialize in hoarding disorder, professional organizers and hoarding cleaning specialists that can help. In tandem, lifelong success can be reached. The process of getting help can be very difficult and painful, but it is worth it in the end. 

Request a service from your local Bio-One team.

Bio-One of Poway

Bio-One of Poway decontamination and biohazard cleaning services

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