2020 has been an interesting year for local businesses.
For some it's been quite problematic, and for others it's mostly just been different.
For local Bryan Norris and his Goulburn-based bio-hazard cleaning service every day is different, but this year has also been a rather interesting one.
Their services range from cleaning up fire or water damage through to decontamination of anything from meth to mould as well as known or suspected bio-hazards like bacteria and viruses.
Certified in more ways than we have room to list, they perform their services for home owners and real estate agents, sporting groups, all sorts of businesses, as well as several government departments and governments themselves right up to federal level (wondering who decontaminated the PM's car recently?). They cover an area from here to the coast, Canberra, Sydney, and even further on occasion.
The year started with a number of fire-related clean-ups and you'd be genuinely surprised how effectively the seemingly baked-in soot and ash can be removed from structures and walls like brick or concrete that didn't succumb to the heat.
Storm damage also means a high likelihood of water damage, and in February our major cities, along with some regional areas, got absolutely clobbered by hail. Apart from needing builders or glaziers to go in and do their thing, that water needs to be fully removed to prevent mould from forming.
"When storms do hit we can have 100 houses at once wanting us to clean up water," Bryan said of the demand.
Whether it's caused by a sudden or slow leak, or even a major spill, Bryan says mould just needs dampness, darkness and a cool environment to go rampant. Mould can cause serious health issues, including in the lungs of anyone with respiratory concerns like asthma.
It's therefore much better to do these clean-ups as soon as possible, but Bryan has a big job coming up near Sydney where a roof was belted in but it has since been left to the pigeons and the weather. He and the crew need to go in and not just clean but decontaminate the area before the builders can then safely do their job.
Meth continues to be an issue. Bryan says you can't smell or see it but if it's been consumed, or worse, manufactured in the home, then its vapours seep into everything and the next tennant, or resident, only realises when they start getting sick for no reason. Their furniture and possessions are then also contaminated and everything right down to the electrical fittings needs to be decontaminated or replaced, which can get expensive.
Helpfully for home buyers there is a highly-effective and affordable lab test that can be done and it will prevent you from getting sick yourself or your tenant from seeking replacement from you of all their possessions (which is very unlikely to be covered by your insurance).
Then there are biological hazards. There's crime scene cleanups after the forensic team has collected everything they need, as well as anything from sewage spills to blood splatters in public or shared places.
Bryan says there's a common myth about dry blood, because it is still dangerous for a very long time. "There's a known case of hepatitis B that was contracted from blood that had been dried for three months."
Of course, 2020 has seen everyone become hyper-aware of personal hygiene and the ease with which contagens can be passed on.
Many businesses large and small have contacted Bio-Cleanse Pty Ltd in order to put them on their COVID-safe plans. It's a simple admin task at either end so they are in each other's invoicing or bill-paying systems, and then everyone carries on implementing the preventative measures we're becoming accustomed to.
Interestingly, Bryan notes that the domestic cleaning products that you can get which claim they are effective on 99.9 percent of germs are fine for lowering your risk in terms of prevention (so keep using hand sanitiser and so forth), but they're nowhere near the level of clean provided by professional decontamination.
There's a grading system that sees these 99.9 percent products rated at a Log3 kill. Bryan says hospital theatres for surgery are normally done with a Log6 standard which is 99.9999 percent. The methods and products Bio-Cleanse uses for decontaminating a site is even higher at a Log7 kill.