Safety and Dehoarding; What Everyone Should Know About Working In A Hoarded Home

I turned down a job the other day. Needless to say the person wasn’t very thrilled with me. We had been talking for several months. It was an investment of time on both sides.

Apparently the house was hoarded. In agreement with my standards and training on safety, I asked to see the house before I committed to the job. In good conscience, I could not commit my crew to an environment that might cause illness or infection.

After continually asking questions about the state of the home and not getting answers, I had to decline. There was a lot of grey area of whether the home was infested and the general condition of it.

So whether you are a doctor or service provider, that has been inlisted to help in a hoarding situation, you need to think about a few things.

* Mold- A lot of homes have a certain about of mold. An extreme amount of mold can make you sick. It should be treated before you work in the home.

* Infestation- Infestation of bugs or rats should also taken care of. It might be impossible to get the home perfectly cleared before you start work. At one job (the client didn’t tell me about a severe roach problem), I went to the store and bought foggers. I had the client set them off each day and I came back a week later to an almost bug free environment.

* The Unseen- Many times in a hoard, you don’t know what you are stepping on or touching in the piles. Be careful. Pick up one item at a time.

* Fresh Air- The smells can cause quite the allergy attack. I have spent many a time sniffing and snorting on someones front porch. If you are able, open doors and windows to help the conquer the stale air.

* Proper Attire- I learned early on that you need to wear the proper attire. I always wear long pants and a short sleeved and long sleeved shirt(Yes, I sweated gallons at a home last summer). Its important to project your skin. In a severely hoarded home, you will bump into things. Also make sure that you have gloves on at all times.

* Suit Up- If the home is severely molded, has animal feces, or other smells, consider wearing a mask and a hazmat suit. This will keep you protected for any bateria.

* Vicks- How do you handle the smells? A little vicks around the corner of your nose. It works like a charm.

Be safe and be smart!!

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