This guest blog is written by David Hart, a longtime inventor and student in the cleaning and restoration industry. This is David’s first-hand account of a recent training experience he had at a training very specific to forensic restoration/bio-recovery/crime scene cleaning (you’ll read more about specific verbiage below).
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“On your feet!”
The instructor’s commanding voice penetrated through the the training room.
“Please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance.”
I was mentally teleported back to my youth, when each school day began with this exhibition of respect and gratitude for our freedoms.
Meanwhile, a single word filled the massive video screen on the stage: “HONOR.”
I’ve attended several of Jeff Jones’ presentations over the years, read his articles, and watched his videos. His knack for captivating his audience was well-known to me, and although I was fully prepared to be impressed, I was about to have my mind blown over the course of the next few days.
In professional cleaning and restoration, there’s no shortage of certification classes for every sector and niche in the industry. We’re inundated with announcements advertised to us through industry publications, email, and social media. With so many available, it can be difficult to choose which, if any, to take.
Many classes and certifications are now available online, which can be an attractive approach as travel and accommodations, as well as time away from the business, can be costly. Information can be learned remotely, but when it comes to learning techniques that will be applied in the field, in-person training is arguably preferred. When it comes to a sector that demands the implementation of very specific, scientific methods, hands-on is absolutely essential. If ever there was a service that fits this description, it’s forensic restoration.
Always wanting to take my education and skillset to the next level, and having been intrigued by the scientific aspects of cleaning and restoration, when Jeff Jones’ Microbial Warrior Forensic Training/Certification course became available, I jumped at the opportunity to train from the grandmaster of forensic restoration himself.
What is Forensic Restoration?
According to Dr. Michael A. Berry, formerly with the EPA, cleaning is defined as: “the removal of soil, both visible and invisible.”
Jeff Jones defines forensic cleaning as “the removal of biological contaminants and pathogens, both visible and invisible, to prepare surfaces, both vertical and horizontal, for professional disinfecting.”
Professional disinfecting is defined as: “the application of an EPA-registered hospital grade Tuberculocidal disinfectant with a 6-log kill, proven to kill both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, and inactivate both enveloped and non-enveloped viruses.”
Forensic restoration was originally trademarked with the U.S. National Library of Congress (NLC) as the official term for crime and trauma scene cleaning. Today, Forensic Restoration’s definition has evolved to: “a comprehensive remediation of micro-environments in buildings and structures, contaminated or suspected contaminated of biological materials.”
It just so happens, it was Jeff Jones, the instructor of the training course I recently attended and about whom I’m writing, who trademarked forensic restoration. He did so, and developed forensic restoration into what it is today, out of realization that crime and trauma scene remediation is something that needs to be taken ultra-seriously, and is to be done with an extremely high level of accuracy and reverence. Jeff says that when a potential client calls for his services, they’re reaching out for help with what’s likely the most difficult situation in their life.
“The day I stop viewing the service we provide our clients as a ministry is the day I hang it up and go do something else”, says Jeff.
The Training Experience
One thing about Jeff Jones- he doesn’t beat around the bush, and he doesn’t sugarcoat. He gets straight to the point and delivers not only invaluable information, he also shares his experiences. The first two days were a brilliant concoction of slides (some not for the faint of heart), clear explanation of procedure, and case studies of jobs he’s handled.
The third day was a hands-on submersion into forensic restoration. We were each given a complete set of PPE (personal protective equipment), which included Tyvek suits, booties, gloves and respirators, and we were shown how to properly don and doff (industry terms for “put on and take off”). Together, Jeff and his wife, Lori, who is also a trained expert in forensic restoration, gave personal attention to each student, making sure we did everything correctly, according to forensic restoration standards.
Once we were all suited up and ready for the task, we were ushered into a room that could have passed for the scene of a violent murder, or the set for a horror film’s climatic scene. The walls and floor were splattered and smeared with blood and brains. We’re not talkin’ fake blood and jello, we’re talkin’ real blood and brains (from a cow).
Our job: to completely restore the room to pre-existing conditions.
Fully suited in PPE, and armed with scrapers, cleaning solution, scouring pads, towels, and hydrogen peroxide, we went to work applying what we had been taught over the previous two days. As far as any of us were concerned, this wasn’t a practice, we were on site at a real crime scene. We went to work.
Time perceivably warped, as I was so involved in the project I was unaware of its passage. As we applied our newly learned skills, the room began to transform, the murder scene disappeared, both visibly and invisibly. It was much more than an aesthetic cleaning (although the visual difference was staggering); we were purging the structure of microbial contaminants.
We worked as a group on the walls and floor of the structure, then each of us was given a blood-and-brains smeared tile, and instructed to clean and decontaminate it. Jeff and Lori were at the ready with ATP meters (an ATP meter reveals the amount of adenosine triphosphate- a compound that’s present in all living tissue) to determine exactly the level of decontamination we achieved.
The results were mixed- some nailed it the first time out, others (some of whom are currently employed in the crime scene cleaning industry) had to go back and repeat the decontamination process in order to bring the tile to acceptable levels.
We all started with ATP readings of >4,000. Many “experts” in the international crime scene community claim that achieving a level of <100 is acceptable, insisting reaching single digits is “an impossible goal.” Jeff targets “single digits, preferably zero.”
By the time we finished, every student had achieved Jeff’s requirement of a single digit reading.
We all became friends over the three days. It was reminiscent of the closeness I experienced with my fellow platoon members in Army basic training. I reached out to a couple of them, asking them to share their feelings in regard to the experience.
Keith Phillips | Owner | Franklin Environmental Services
Unlike any other training I’ve been to. From the moment I walked in to the class and shook Jeff’s hand, I knew this was gonna be intense and different.
The level of professionalism and the organization was top-notch. The hands-on, actual environment situational training, such attention to detail. Blood and brains removal from walls, floors, structure and contents. We are at war- not with a person or a society, but with pathogenic microbes.
So you form a strategy; to win that battle (in the war). Assess the situation, develop a game plan, act on that game plan, the end result, you win the battle, as long as you stick to protocol. Having honor gives you a perspective of doing it the right way.
Whomever you are going into the class, you leave with a much higher sense of honor and self-respect and respect for the forensic restoration process. Everybody got to experience the best state-of-the-art equipment in the industry- not just demonstrated, but we got outfitted with it, and used it in a real-to-life situation.”
I intend to expand my current business’s offerings from mold remediation to include unattended death forensic restoration services. Jeff detailed very clearly the differences between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, and how to achieve them.
Jame Baumann | Owner | JAB Properties and Geaux Properties & Environmental
I discovered Jeff at an industry convention in Las Vegas, my wife and I were blown away by his presentation.
Part of the reason I took such an interest in Jeff, was because he offered a way to become educated in the industry as an individual, rather than having to be part of a franchise. I looked into the franchises and was unimpressed. I started looking into and talking with Jeff, and discovered ‘this guy is genuine, he is a great ambassador.’ I don’t live that far from him, so I drove to his office, and his staff loves this man! It was clear that this was something to pursue.
I’ve taken a lot of classes, they typically just give you enough information that you don’t drown. I feel that applying what we acquired in Jeff’s training, we will go into the field and bring health to the industry.
I’ve taken at least 30 courses in cleaning and remediation, Jeff’s forensic restoration course is the best I’ve ever taken. I’m excited about this. If there was a PhD in Forensic Restoration, Jeff would have it.
I plan on using what I’ve learned mostly on the IAQ (indoor air quality) aspects of the industry.
If you’re looking for a class consisting of a tedious workbook lecture followed by textbook questions and answers which leaves you semi-confident in what you’re supposed to do in the real world, this is not the course. The Microbial Warrior training course is a dynamic experience. I’ve never attended a course of any kind that was so attention-grabbing (a close second was an explosives training course I took in the army).
“Care, compassion and concern based on the sciences of Biorisk Management and Infection Control and utilizing the techniques of Forensic Cleaning and Professional Disinfecting, that is Forensic Bugei- The Art of Microbial Warfare.” – Jeff Jones.