Sleepwalking Mess: Hazardous Waste Cleanup

Sleepwalking Can Create Biohazardous Situations

Somnambulism, or sleepwalking, is fairly uncommon, occurring in only about 7% of adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, sleepwalking occurs more often in children, and some research has shown that up to 17% of children may sleepwalk. Some evidence suggests that sleepwalking runs in families and that a person can be up to ten times more prone to sleepwalking if an immediate family member sleepwalks.

Although rare, there are documented cases of sleepwalking resulting in dangerous and even deadly situations. Sleepwalkers have gotten behind the wheel of a car and driven, climbed out windows, operated a stove and other machinery, and wandered from the safety of their homes into heavy traffic, for example.

Sleepwalking is more of an inconvenience than a danger, and it is unlikely that a sleepwalker could create a biohazardous situation. Advanced Bio Treatment, however, was called to Montpelier, Vermont, to remediate the lobby of a hotel that was the unfortunate landing spot for a very active sleepwalker earlier this year.

The hotel staff described a husband, wife, and two little boys arriving one afternoon very energetic and excited. They were on vacation and looking forward to seeing the sites, but late that night things took a very strange turn.

The husband, who was severely overweight, required special accommodations because he had mobility issues, so the family was given a room on the first floor.

The night desk clerk reported seeing the husband walk down the hall from his room directly into the lobby around 11 PM. He was dressed only in an undershirt and boxer shorts. He walked around a bit and seemed to be collecting attraction brochures and quietly reading them. Although the guest’s attire was a bit unusual for a public place like a hotel lobby, the desk clerk paid him no further mind until a few minutes later, when he suddenly noticed a foul odor.

The desk clerk glanced around the lobby but didn’t see anything unusual other than the inappropriately dressed guest squatting near the large fountain at the hotel entrance. It wasn’t until this guest stood up and began walking briskly toward the concierge desk that the clerk realized that the guest no longer had his boxer shorts on. When the guest stopped and began urinating on the cabinetry, the desk clerk called out to the guest, but the guest ignored him. The clerk immediately dialed hotel security.

Once security officers arrived, they noticed that the guest had smeared feces on his thighs and promptly discovered that the guest had also defecated in the large fountain.

By this time, the guest’s wife had entered the lobby looking for her husband, who was now flanked by two security guards. Two additional security guards were taping off the fountain and the concierge-desk areas.

“George! George!” The wife was softly and gently nudging and speaking to her husband, who looked dazed. Suddenly, his eyes cleared and he stared at her and then down at himself. He was clearly confused and embarrassed.

“It’s okay, honey. Can I take him back to the room?” She implored the two guards.

“Well, ma’am, I don’t think so. Your husband, uh, used the bathroom . . .” The guard pointed toward the two roped off areas.

“Oh, dear. He walks in his sleep, sometimes a mile or two away, especially when we’re in a strange place. The doctor gave him a new prescription, but I guess it’s not kicking in yet. He didn’t mean any harm. I am SO sorry.”

After the hotel manager arrived and the couple answered a few questions and agreed to pay for the cleanup and any damages, the couple was escorted back to their room.

Human excrement, however, presents a biohazardous threat, especially in a public place frequented by so many people. The hotel’s biggest concern was keeping other hotel guests, along with hotel staff, safe and comfortable. The hotel manager immediately called ABT, and we had a team on site within 30 minutes to contain the affected areas to keep any biohazards from spreading to other areas, thoroughly clean up the urine and feces throughout the hotel lobby, and safely package and remove the biohazard waste. The fountain had to be drained, partially disassembled, and disinfected, and the entire lobby had to be cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized. One large Oriental rug had to be removed for special cleaning, and some office supplies within the cabinetry had to be replaced, but the loss was minimal. Our team had the lobby fully restored within two hours. Most guests never knew what happened.

If you or someone you love suffers from sleepwalking, or you’d like more information, please use these resources:

http://www.sleepeducation.org/sleep-disorders-by-category/parasomnias/sleepwalking/overview-facts

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleepwalking/symptoms-causes/syc-20353506

We at Advanced Bio Treatment are proud to be the proven, professional choice in hazardous waste cleanup. And we are honored to team up with homeowners and business owners in Vermont and all over the United States for their hazardous waste recovery needs. Advanced Bio Treatment operators are standing by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to answer your questions, offer you a quote, and dispatch a team of our highly trained experts to your home or business. Should you need our services, please call us at 1-800-295-1684.

Another Side to Death Behind the Macabre

Macabre – Five Unique Companies That Deal with Death Would Say “Absolutely!”

Working in the business of death ourselves, we at Advanced Bio Treatment know that any death is complex and difficult. In an attempt to cope with the fear and mystery of death, cultural traditions that celebrate and honor death and the dead in very festive ways, like Halloween in this country, exist all over the world. Over the course of our many years in the business of death, we have also discovered a few very unique companies right here in the United States.

These companies take a different approach to the traditional macabre, occult aura that shrouds death. Take a fascinating walk on the not-so-dark side with us . . .

National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art – Cleveland, OH

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NAPSA (National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art) is a company based in Ohio that offers a service called “Save My Ink,” which preserves tattoos by cutting the tattoos away from a deceased person’s body and framing them. The company views tattoos as an art form worth preserving and views tattoo artists as talent worth supporting. Hence, the company keeps tattoos of its members “alive” even after they have died.

The services are available only to members who pay registration and annual fees, register their tattoos for the service, and name the beneficiaries of each tattoo. Some of the most talented tattoo artists from around the world have joined NAPSA’s artist directory. This enables tattoo seekers to search the directory for artists in their area and choose one based on the artist’s tattoo design. Upon notice that a member has died, the company overnights the funeral director instructions for removing the tattoo from the deceased along with temporary preservation chemicals and a prepaid return package. The company then chemically processes the skin to stop decay, frames it, and sends it to the member’s beneficiary.

Undertaking LA – Los Angeles, CA

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Undertaking LA is a progressive and fully licensed funeral home in Los Angeles, California. Their goal is to empower families to get closer to death and to see it as a natural process by restoring a hands-on approach to the death of a loved one. Before the rise of medical and funeral industries, death was handled at home by the family and friends of the deceased. This company’s mission is to encourage families to reclaim control of the dying process by caring for the dead themselves once again. The company does not offer traditional funerals or burials, caskets, or embalming. Instead, they offer services that involve the family in the death process. This is including home funerals in which family members prepare a loved one’s body in their own home. Cremations that loved ones are encouraged to witness, and a natural burial with no vault or embalming.

Eternal Reefs – Sarasota, FL

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Eternal Reefs is a service provided for people who are cremated in which the cremains are mixed with an environmentally safe concrete reef mixture. Molded into a “Reef Ball,” and then adorned and decorated by the family with mementos, hand prints, and written messages. Finally, a bronze plaque is attached to the Eternal Reef before final curing. The Eternal Reef, or “Reef Ball,” is then lowered to an approved spot in the ocean by a charter boat. A second boat carrying family and friends follows and accompanies the Eternal Reef to its final destination where the family participates in a dedication ceremony before the Eternal Reef is lowered to its resting spot in the sea.

The purpose of the Eternal Reef is to develop, support, and create habitats for fish and other marine life. Made with a specialized concrete formula to which the cremains are added. Eternal Reefs allow microorganisms to flourish on the surface of the Reef Ball and allow the deceased to be an eternal part of supporting existing and creating new sea life.

Ramsey Creek Preserve – Westminster, SC

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The Ramsey Creek Preserve was the first “green cemetery” in the United States. It was opened in 1998 by Memorial Ecosystems, a company “committed to being the leaders in environmentally and socially responsible death care.” The company’s mission is to encourage a more meaningful burial option that also serves “a higher, significant conservation purpose.” Through a partnership with Upstate Forever, the largest land-trust in upstate South Carolina. The Preserve was able to draw up a protection agreement.

This includes a legal fund and a guarantee that the site will stay wild forever, will be maintained. It will be protected from development regardless of how the parent company’s management changes. Burials in the Preserve must be “green,” meaning no embalming fluids are used. Only biodegradable caskets made from wood that is not tropical or endangered are used, and no vaults are used. Ramsey Creek Preserve is committed not only to green burial but equally to maintaining a natural setting. This in which the green burial enhances and encourages the environment and habits of native wildlife and flora.

1-800-Autopsy – Los Angeles, CA

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1-800-AUTOPSY is a specialty service morgue that provides most autopsy and postmortem services for celebrities. Run by a pathologist, this private morgue handles high-profile cases that you read about in popular media. One “fun” aspect of the business is the signage: the “Creepy Crypt” is the refrigeration until where bodies are stored. Another is the collection of posters and artifacts lining the walls. They include surgical instruments and pictures of autopsies from horror movies. The business maintains a whole collection of old, outdated autopsy equipment from the 30s and 40s that it rents out to movie sets. Maybe directors prefer this old equipment because it’s creepier?

We are Advanced Bio Treatment, and we care about the communities we serve. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684. Providing emergency services, work with your insurance company, and respond 24/7/365.

Typical Autumn Chores and Typical Serious Accidents

Typical Autumn Chores and Typical Serious Accidents

Autumn is rapidly approaching and with it come the typical seasonal chores of cleaning gutters and roofs, especially in our more northerly communities that have a lot of deciduous trees.

Our experience responding to and cleaning up accident sites has taught us that some seasonal chores should be left to experts because of their inherent risks and potential for deadly accidents. Attempting them yourself simply is not worth the few bucks you might save.

Climbing up on the roof with the blower to clear the roof and the gutters of dead and decaying leaves is critical if you want to protect these expensive investments and their surrounding structures and landscape. However, it’s also really dangerous. REALLY dangerous. Climbing up to the roof is probably one of the most dangerous things laymen homeowners do.

Why not climb up to the roof yourself? Because you probably do not have a fall-arrest system, a secure point to tie a safety rope, the proper ladder-safety tools, or someone to assist you.

According to the World Health Organization, over 164,000 people in the United States go to the emergency room each year after falling from a ladder and 300 of them die. Most of these deaths were from a fall of 10 feet or less.

OSHA states that “falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries.”

The Culture of Safety Web site lists the 4 primary causes of ladder accidents:

  1. Selecting the wrong kind of ladder.
  2. Using worn or damaged ladders.
  3. Using ladders incorrectly.
  4. Placing ladders incorrectly.

Falls from residential roofs, OSHA says, account for about 40 deaths a year. OSHA requires “guardrails with toeboards, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems” on steep roofs.

OHSA also recommends “a full-body harness with a shock-absorbing lanyard or retractable lifeline” anytime someone is working six feet or more above a grade or a lower level.

Imagine, then, how much more likely a fall from a ladder or roof is for a layman, who probably has none of this equipment or knowledge?

Not long ago, we responded to a call from a client whose husband nearly died cleaning the gutters of their home. An ex-rock climber, he believed he had taken the utmost precautions before climbing to their steeply pitched roof. He was wearing an old climbing harness. This is not the full-body harness required by OSHA, attached to an old rope from his youth as a rock climber. He had tied one end of the rope to his harness and the other end to the trailer hitch of his pickup truck. This was parked in the driveway on the other side of the roof and facing the street. His teenage son was leaving for work, but his car was blocked by his dad’s truck, so, not noticing the rope attached to the trailer hitch and trailing across the roof, he moved the truck to the street, dragging his dad off the roof and hurling him onto the concrete driveway 15 feet below. He was then dragged the length of the driveway to the street and taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Please consider hiring a professional gutter-cleaning company that is both insured and experienced and who does its own work rather than using subcontractors.

Please also be aware that insurance carriers offer coverage to companies based on their specific activities. Companies whose workers use ladders and work on roofs pay a higher premium for added coverage. That means a landscaper or handyman who says he also cleans gutters might not be covered by his insurer for falling from a ladder or roof, and you and your homeowner insurance company are immediately liable and open to a nasty and costly law suit should an accident happen.

Allowing a friend or neighbor to clean you gutters presents an even bigger risk – and a great way to damage or end a friendship. The neighbor is probably neither insured for ladder usage nor experienced, and should an accident occur, you and your homeowner insurance company are fully liable and wide-open to a law suit.

 


We are Advanced Bio Treatment, and we care about the communities we serve. We want to help you protect yourself and those you love. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684. We give free quotes, provide emergency services, work with your insurance company, and respond 24/7/365.

 

Sources

https://www.osha.gov

http://www.who.org

http://www.cultureofsafety.com/safety-tips/ladder-safety/