Monthly Archives: January 2013

Crime Scene Cleanup Project

Crime Scene in Newport Beach

Photo via

If it seems like our environmental services division, Alliance Environmental Group, is the go-to company for crime scene cleanup projects, well, that’s because we are!

You might have heard yesterday about the sad story of Stanwood Elkus who went to an appointment with his urologist and shot his doctor to death in the examination room. The 75-year-old apparently had issues with his prostate and may have blamed his doctor for his continuing problems. Mr. Elkus is in custody, but unfortunately Dr. Ronald Gilbert’s family has suffered a terrible loss.

Alliance Environmental Group was called in to clean up the crime scene after all necessary evidence had been gathered by police and forensic teams.

A crime scene is always a difficult cleanup project, if you are not trained to deal with it. Alliance’s cleanup team is highly trained, professional and licensed for crime scene decontamination, as is legally required in California. Our services include:

  • Disinfecting
  • Odor neutralization
  • Total removal of biological infectious waste, blood or body fluids
  • Documentation of proper bio-hazardous waste disposal
  • Fingerprint removal
  • Tear gas remediation

We are available anytime, day or night and arrive fully-equipped to handle the cleanup and removal of potentially contaminated or infectious blood, body fluids, body tissue and materials. All hazardous waste is properly packaged, removed, transported and destroyed according to state and federal regulations.

We hope that you are never in need of our Crime Scene cleanup services, but if you ever are, please call us and let us take care of this difficult process for you and spare yourself further trauma even after a terrible situation has ended.

We’re Off on the Road to Havana!

Havana Nights

This Thursday and Friday our Northern California team will be found in Havana! Okay Havana-in-Oakland but we will be manning a booth at the California Association of Community Managers Northern California Law Seminar and Tradeshow!

The Law Seminar features: “sessions on new legislation and case law, unique collection methods, dangerous requests made by boards (and how to address them), Davis-Stirling updates and more.” They will also hold informative speed-round breakout discussions on:

  • ADA/Fair Housing
  • Assessment Collection
  • Elections/Meetings
  • Email/Social Media
  • Facilities Maintenance
  • Illegal Board activities
  • Insurance Claims
  • Managing Risk

…and many others!

One very interesting session will be “Ordinary People, Extraordinary results: The 8 essential elements of human Synergy” led by Robyn Benincasa. Learn what qualities make successful teams from this adventure racing champion and San Diego firefighter!

But if you think that sounds exciting, a Rumba beat underscores the tradeshow featuring offerings from many vendors including AirTek!

We would love to see you at our booth! Please stop by and say hello! Watch our Facebook Page and Twitter Feed for more information and Hasta Pronto!

Wendy Stackhouse has been the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental services, since October of 2011. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on indoor air challenges!

Update and Video: Ronald McDonald House Dinner with Friends

Dinner with Friends card

The 2013 Ronald McDonald House Dinner with Friends is only a little over a month away and we are starting to get very excited about this event!

You still have time to purchase tickets HERE or make a donation if you cannot attend.

Would you like to learn more about the Ronald McDonald House? Here is a terrific video from the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego to tell you more about what they do:

We hope that you will consider attending this amazing event or donating to this wonderful organization, which provides a home-away-from-home to families of critically ill children all over the world.

And watch this space for more!

VIDEO: Indoor Air and Cold Weather

It might always be cold where you are in January, but in past years I would make a point of wearing shorts on New Year’s Day–it was always warm enough! But not 2013. Nor 2012 for that matter.

It’s been cold enough for ice to become a danger even in Southern California this week (a friend of mine slipped on ice and broke her leg yesterday!) and the Indoor Air Quality Association has some great information for you about your indoor environment during cold weather in this video. It’s supposed to warm up after today. We can only hope!

Stay warm and don’t light your fireplace today in the Bay Area–it’s a no burn day!

Australian Study: Wood Smoke May Be Deadly

Wood Stove in Country Store

Photo by coopgreg via stock.xchng

Wood stoves were hot sellers in Tasmania, an island south of Australia, in the 1980’s and 1990’s. “They were used as a primary heating source” in many homes but they appear to have had a profound effect on the health of the people living in those homes.

A study was done on the citizens of Launceston, Tasmania and found some very interesting results. The study researched the health of the residents of Launceston in the 6.5 years before and after a public health campaign which both educated the public about wood smoke and offered replacement heaters for wood stoves. Between 2001 and 2004, wood stove use in Launceston went from 66% of homes to 30%.

Due to these efforts, particulate matter was reduced dramatically and the health effects were remarkable, especially for the men in the study:

“11% lower all-cause mortality
18% lower cardiovascular mortality
23% lower respiratory mortality”

The researchers conclusion: improvement in the air quality made a definite improvement in people’s health and outcomes.

Before you light your fireplace, be sure that your ventilation system is working well. Replace your air filters regularly and have your ducts and HVAC system cleaned once a year. You’ll be glad you did!

Poor Air Quality Linked to Autism

Chicago City scene

Photo by charlotel via stock.xchng

In their first issue of 2013, JAMA Psychiatry has published a new study linking traffic-related air pollution with autism.

As someone interested in the issues surrounding air quality–and a parent–this study intrigues me. Both parents of children on the autism spectrum and parents of neurotypical children are mystified by the prevalence of autism tody and the lack of information about its cause.

The study was done in California and involved both children with autism and a control group of neurotypical children. The mother’s address during gestation and the first year of life was used to determine exposure to traffic-related air pollution before birth and until age one. There were 279 children with autism and 245 neurotypical children in the study.

Their conclusion: “Exposure to traffic-related air pollution, nitrogen dioxide, [particles greater than 2.5microns] and [particles greater than 10 microns] during pregnancy and during the first year of life was associated with autism.” They are planning to do further studies to determine whether these exposures are causal, but certainly they found a correlation.

In our research, we often discover environmental factors which are important to the healthy development of children, whether exposure to volatile organic compounds, tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, radon, bacteria, mold spores, or allergens. We join with JAMA Psychiatry in hoping that further study clarifies the causes of developmental problems so that we can reduce exposure to dangerous substances and increase healthy outcomes for all of our children.

Case Study: Heat for Odor in School Gymnasium

Hydronic Truck

Cast your mind back…back…back to the days of phys ed and the lovely smell of a middle school locker room.

Now forgive me.

You have to admit that school gyms are smelly enough without anything but kids, but we were called in to a project that involved an intolerable smell in a gymnasium so you know it had to be really bad.

Last week, Alliance Environmental Group’s Team Heat was called in by a Salinas-based restoration company that was attempting to remove an odor from a school gymnasium. After complaints from teachers, students and parents, the school decided it was time to act.

Alliance’s expert team provided the Hydronic trailer and worked with the restoration company – which provided the fans and manpower – to heat the gym to approximately 120 degrees over six days. (Wonder how it smelled during the treatment!) But air was constantly pumped out of the building during the heating process, to be sure that the odor would not be reabsorbed into any building materials.

After the heating process was completed, the odor was reduced by 80 percent.

There’s not much worse than a super smelly gym and now at least the smells in this gym are the ones that are expected to be there! Visit our Facebook Page for more photos of this project!

Another Crime Scene for Our Cleanup Crew

Edwin Cleaning Crime Scene

We are always saddened to hear about gun violence, especially after the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last month. But the fact remains that one of the services we offer is the cleanup of crime and trauma scenes. Unfortunately for the victims and their families, a shooting is both a crime and a trauma.

Last weekend, our own Edwin Munet handled a crime scene cleanup in Moreno Valley. The story itself is a very sad one. An 18-year-old who had been apprehended and handcuffed was shot and killed by a Sheriff’s Deputy when the Deputy thought the young man was about to shoot him. Investigations are not yet complete.

We would be as happy as you would be to never be called to another crime scene because there was none, but so far that is not the case. Our condolences go out to all the families in Newtown and, indeed, to the friends and families of everyone affected by gun violence around the world.