Frequently Asked Questions

First Response is Ottawa’s Extreme Deep Cleaning Service

Frequently Asked Questions

Crime Scene Cleanup

Who pays for crime scene cleanup varies from case to case. Some homeowners insurance polices will pay for biohazard and crime cleanup in cases of murder, attempted murder, or unattended deaths. Others do not cover biohazard and crime cleanup, and the property owner has to pay for it out of pocket. If you are unsure about whether or not crime scene cleanup is included in your policy, contact your insurance provider for more details.

There are many reasons why you would want to hire professionals to clean a crime scene for you. The first reason is the biohazard risks involved in cleaning a crime scene. Blood, bodily fluids, and other biohazardous materials are often present at the scene and without proper protection can pose a serious risk to the individual(s) cleaning the crime scene. A second, and equally important reason for calling professionals to do the cleaning for you is because of the emotional toll cleaning a crime scene can take on you. Our professionals are accustomed to working in environments that would cause many people serious emotional distress. Hiring a professional lets you relieve yourself of this extremely heavy burden.

The most common biohazards present at crime scenes are contaminants in blood or other bodily fluids. Bodily fluids can contain bloodborne pathogens which can cause illness and disease if an individual comes into contact with them without the proper protection. These pathogens are invisible and can often be trapped throughout the environment including in the floors, walls, ceilings, items, and more. To ensure you are protected from these biohazards we recommend you hire a professional crime scene cleaning company.

Biohazard cleaning is a process by which an environment is cleaned of biohazards which might pose a risk to individuals occupying an area. Examples of biohazards include human blood, human bodily fluids, microbiological wastes, pathological waste and more. Professional biohazard cleaning will remove these biohazards, making the area once again safe. 

Biohazard waste cannot be disposed of in regular trash bins like normal garbage. Biohazard waste must first be rendered safe by decontamination before being finally disposed of. This decontamination process involves killing any bacteria or pathogens with extremely high heat. Once the biohazard trash is sterilized, it is then safe to be processed or disposed of. It is extremely important to never place biohazard waste in a normal trash bin. 

Coronavirus Decontamination and COVID-19 Cleaning & Training

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and the current global health emergency: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). COVID-19 is a sometimes severe respiratory disease (sickness) that can result from the exposure to a previously unknown coronavirus now named Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The best step you can take to fight the spread of COVID-19 is to wash your hands – constantly, religiously and vigilantly. On top of that, you’ll want to minimize your exposure to the coronavirus by touching as few surfaces as possible when in public areas or anywhere outside your home. Social distancing is also being emphasized as a way to combat COVID-19. Currently a physical distance of at least 2m is recommended between you and other people at all times. For your home or business, regular cleaning – especially of high-touch surfaces – is another important part of the fight against COVID-19.

To protect against the transmission of COVID-19, there are steps you can take at home or at your office. Wiping down surfaces which are frequently touched with disinfectant chemicals is an effective means to slow the spread of the virus. Health Canada has a comprehensive list of chemicals and products which can effectively sanitize surfaces. For more in-depth cleaning, contact us to arrange a COVID-19 decontamination of your home or office.

Coronavirus decontamination training is a service offered by First Response Training where we educate and train employees on the proper procedures for reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Our training covers how to decontaminate surfaces, keeping employees safe, COVID-19 cleaning protocols, and more. We will help your business reopen with confidence that all appropriate COVID-19 protection steps are taken.

Both disinfection and decontamination are processes by which microbes and viruses are killed or eliminated. Decontamination reduces the microbial contamination of materials or services and is most often accomplished using chemical disinfectants. Decontamination is done to make an environment such as an office or home safer for its occupants by dramatically reducing the presence of microbes. Disinfection is the elimination of virtually all pathogenic organisms in an area, and is often impossible to achieve in living spaces and offices due to the variety of materials present. COVID-19 Decontamination for homes and offices is an effective way to reduce the risk of viral transmission.

Disaster Restoration

If you have experienced a fire and have extensive smoke damage, you might be wondering if it will be possible to clean. In most cases, the answer is yes however it requires a deep clean. Smoke damage is serious and can be harmful to the occupants of a building however First Response Cleaning is experienced in cleaning smoke damage. We use state-of-the-art equipment to restore your smoke-damaged home. If you are unsure as to whether or not the smoke damage in your home can be cleaned, contact us today.

Smoke can affect a wide variety of materials in many different ways. On top of the temperature damage caused by the fire, smoke can cause significant damage. Due to the ultra fine size of smoke particles, they can travel into small cracks, and crevices. While these particles might be too small to see, you will definitely smell them and they pose a hazard to your health. Smoke will also get trapped in fabrics such as upholstery, bedding, curtains, and more.

In the event of a small basement flood, you might be able to clean it yourself if you act quickly and follow these steps:

  1. Remove the water
  2. Remove your belongings
  3. Start cleaning
  4. Start drying
  5. Inspect for mould

If your basement flood is larger and these steps seem daunting for you to take on by yourself, contact us today to see how we can help.

If you only had a very small fire in a small room in your home, you might be able to manage the cleanup yourself. If you had a medium to large sized fire in your home or office building, you run the risk of exposing you, your family, or your employees to dangerous air pollutants and contaminants. Soot is hazardous to breathe and mold is often found in the area due to the water being used to put out the fire. Conditions such as asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, eye irritation, or more might arise. If you are unsure what to do, don’t risk it and contact us today.

After a fire, many toxic materials are present at the scene. In older buildings dating from the 1950s-1980s, asbestos fibres are likely in the area, putting you at risk for mesothelioma (cancer). Other dangerous materials such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxine, and tar are commonly found in areas after a fire. If PVC was burned during the fire, hydrogen chloride, dioxin, chloromethane, bromomethane, halocarbons, may be present. It is also not uncommon to find sulfurs which are detrimental to your health and smell bad. Just wood smoke alone releases over 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke. Don’t take any risks and make sure any fire damage is properly cleaned.

Mold Removal

White mold (mildew) and black mold share several characteristics. They are both fungi which thrive in moist, warm environments, but there are several important differences. As the names suggest, these two kinds of molds are different in appearance. Mildew can pose some minor health issues and should be removed immediately, however black mold is much more dangerous. It can cause serious respiratory issues, heart problems, fatigue, and depression. It can also seriously damage the building. This is why it is extremely important to deal with black mold as soon as it is detected. If you suspect you have mildew or mold in your house or place of business contact us today to get it removed.

We do not recommend you clean black mold on your own. Cleaning black mold is extremely dangerous to do without proper training and equipment. Even minimal exposure to black mold during the cleaning and removal process can lead to serious health issues for you and all those in your building. On top of the very serious health risks involved in removing mold, there is a good chance you could make the problem worse on your own. Cleaning without proper equipment or training can release spores into the air and spread the black mold further throughout yourself. If you have black mold in your house or building, don’t take any risks and contact us today.
To untrained individuals, black mold can be hard to distinguish next to other kinds of mold. Black mold often appears as slimy and has a dark greenish-black or gray colour. As the name suggests, the colour of the mold is the telling sign. If you have determined that you have black mold in your home or building, contact us right away to ensure the safety of all those who occupy the space.
The safest way to get rid of black mold in your basement is to call professionals who are experienced in the area of black mold removal. Black mold is dangerous and can lead to very serious health complications, especially if you disturb it by improperly cleaning. If you have found or suspect you have black mold in your basement, contact us right away.

There are a few reasons as to why black mold might be on your ceiling. One reason it might grow on your ceiling is due to a water leak on an upper floor trapping moisture in your ceiling. Another very cause of mold on the ceiling is when warm, moist, air interacts with a cool ceiling. This causes condensation which creates a warm moist environment for black mold to thrive in. If you spot mold on your ceiling, contact us right away so we can eliminate it before it gets out of control.

If you are suffering from mold sickness, regular exposure to mold can cause allergy symptoms, such as:

  • Wheezing/shortness of breath
  • Rashes
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Coughing
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Persistent sinusitis

Other more serious symptoms might come to be as a result of mold sickness, such as:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle cramping
  • Persistent nerve pain
  • Numbness, tingling, or tremors
  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Frequent colds and flu
  • Fatigue and weakness

If you suspect you are suffering these symptoms because of mold poisoning, contact us today. We can remove the mold from your home.

Mold spores become temporarily inactive after they have dried out, however that doesn’t mean they are not a threat. Dry mold spores can still cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes, runny nose, etc. This is because dried mold spores become airborne and can enter our systems.

Dry mold spores can still travel to other places in your home and spread if they find an environment which is conducive to their growth. They can also start regrowing in the same place where they are located if the conditions (such as an increase in moisture).

Even if the mold in your home is dry, the problem runs the risk of getting worse. contact us today to get rid of the mold in your home.

Once the mold is remediated from your home, you want to make sure that it does not come back. The most important thing you can do to achieve this is to control the level of moisture and humidity in your home so that it does not facilitate rapid mold growth. You can also reduce the potential for mold even more by wiping up puddles of water as soon as they form, and insulate surfaces which are prone to condensation. Dehumidifiers are also good at keeping the humidity in a room below what is needed for mold growth. Make sure that you identify and isolate sources of moisture in your home to ensure that mold does not grow back.

Odour Removal

Ultra Fine Particle Cleaning (UFP Cleaning) is a process by which specialized equipment is used to remove the smallest particles which are present in your space or area. Ultra Fine Particles are often the cause of bad or extreme odours in buildings, and UFP cleaning is an essential part of eliminating the bad smells which make you unable to enjoy your space. First Response Cleaning uses UFP cleaning to ensure complete odour removal from your space.

If your carpet smells of ammonia from cat urine, try the following home remedy:

  1. Make a mix of 50% white vinegar and 50% water.
  2. Pour over the affected area and scrub, and then let it dry.
  3. Spread a heavy layer of baking soda over the area and leave it for 24 hours.
  4. Mix 50% water, 50% hydrogen peroxide, and a teaspoon of dish soap.
  5. Pour over the baking soda and scrub lightly.
  6. Vacuum everything up.

If after this your carpet still smells of cat urine, contact us for more heavy-duty odour removal.

Getting rid of the smell of smoke in a house is an extremely difficult task. If an area has been smoked in for many years, at home remedies might not be enough to completely remove the smell. Smoke consists of many ultrafine particles which can get stuck in the smallest cracks, crevices, and bind to your fabrics. These particles can be damaging to your health, and a full professional cleaning is recommended.

Musty smells are often the result of a number of things present in your home. Musty odours are more common in areas with poor ventilation and where particles build up. The particles causing these unpleasant odours are normally dust, mildew, and mold. In most cases the smell can be removed. If you can’t get rid of the musty smell in your home, contact us to see how we can help.

At First Response our team of experts will begin the cleaning process by giving a professional assessment of the situation as well as a plan of action. Once that plan of action has been clearly laid out, our trained and certified experts will enter the space to carefully and quickly begin the professional cleaning and removing odours from your space. This includes; removing your items from the space, sanitizing, disinfecting, biohazard decontamination and repairs and restoration to your space. Our team always responds rapidly and with discretion.

Asbestos Abatement

Simply put, there is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos can cause cancer and chronic respiratory diseases after any amount of asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested. If your home or work area has asbestos, it is imperative that it be removed and abated as soon as possible.

Asbestos was the most common material used for popcorn ceilings until it was banned in 1978. If your home was built before this and has a popcorn ceiling, it might contain asbestos. If you suspect you have asbestos in your home, contact us today to see how we can help.

Identifying asbestos in your home is very difficult as it is often mixed with other budding materials. If your home was built before 1980, it is likely that at least some parts of the home contain asbestos. Since asbestos can be in so many materials, to properly identify asbestos in your home or office, you must hire a qualified testing company such as First Response Cleaning.

Asbestos removal is extremely dangerous and should only be done by experienced professionals with adequate protective equipment. For your health and safety it is imperative that you not attempt to remove asbestos yourself. If you need asbestos removed from your property, contact us today.

Asbestos can be found in many places in your home. Until the 1980’s, asbestos was commonly mixed with other construction materials for ceilings, floor tiles, insulation, siding, and much more. If your home was built between the 1950’s and 1980, there is a good chance it contains at least some asbestos. For complete asbestos testing, contact us.

Hoarding Cleanup

While both collectors and hoarders will accumulate a large amount of things, there is a clear line between the two. Collectors gather things out of interest such as stamps, coins, action figures, or virtually anything else. Collectors organize and display their items, showcasing them for others to appreciate and enjoy.

Hoarders on the other hand lose their ability to organize and display their items, and they end up filling up and obstructing their home. Navigating through the space becomes difficult or downright impossible. While many hoarders consider themselves collectors, they have an intense emotional attachment to their possessions and frequently become isolated and struggle with depression and anxiety.

First Response Cleaning is experienced in cleaning up messes created by hoarding. We fully clean and clear your space, making sure to dispose of any waste. Once everything is removed from the house, we will disinfect and decontaminate everything to ensure the space is livable. One of the biggest issues with hoarders who wish to change is the monumental task of cleaning everything to make a first step. First Response Cleaning is here to take that first step with you.

Once access into and out of a building is blocked by items and trash, or pathways within the area are obstructed there are many safety issues. The most common hazards from hoarding are falling risks, fire hazards, infestations, and other dangerous living conditions such as mold.

The first step in cleaning a hoarding mess is to clear out the trash, junk, and unnecessary items kept in the house. Once these are removed, disinfection and reorganization can take place. But the first, most important step is to clear everything out of the space.

Hoarding is absolutely a health hazard. Homes affected by hoarding are vulnerable to infestations from bugs and vermin, which can cause serious illnesses to those living within the area. They are also prone to developing mold, which is seriously damaging to health. In some extreme hoarding cases, the structural integrity of a building can be at risk putting the occupant’s safety in immediate danger.

Indoor Air Quality Testing & Treatment

Indoor Air Quality Testing uses specialized equipment to test the content of your air. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) tests use this specialized equipment to detect 3 types of air pollutants:

  • Biological pollutants
  • Chemical pollutants
  • Radiological pollutants

If the levels of pollutants are determined to be too high, we will determine the best possible treatment for our air quality.

Because of advances in technology, indoor air quality testing (IAQ testing) has become very accurate. IAQ testing can accurately determine the levels of the pollutants in your house. On its own, IAQ testing can not determine the source of the pollutants, that is where our experienced staff come in – we know how to identify where the pollutants come from so we can efficiently treat your air quality.

First Response Cleaning offers Indoor Air Quality Testing for all kinds of environments, from residential to business properties. If you would like to test your building’s indoor air quality, simply contact us today.

Indoor Air Quality testing detects all kinds of biological, chemical, or radiological pollutants. These pollutants can be dust from normal living, mold from humidity, emissions from household cleaners or building materials. IAQ can be affected by gasses such as carbon monoxide, radon, or other volatile organic compounds as well as microbial contaminants such as mold or bacteria or any other mass or energy stressor that can have a negative impact on our health.

While some home test kits are available on the market to test for specific indoor air pollutants, the best way to get the most accurate indoor air quality reading is to hire experts such as First Response Cleaning to test the quality of the air for you. We use only the most technologically advanced and sensitive equipment to give you the most accurate readings.

Equipment Rental

An air scrubber is a high-power portable filtration system that removes particles, chemicals, and gasses from the air. Air scrubbers draw air from the surrounding area and pass it through a series of powerful filters to remove contaminants. Air scrubbers are extremely efficient, and can eliminate up to 90% of airborne microorganisms.

Negative air machines are used to remove contaminated air from a closed off and contaminated area. Negative air machines are used most commonly in medical facilities, construction sites, and restaurants.

If you know exactly the kind of job that needs to be done, and how to do it, renting cleaning equipment is for you. By renting the equipment you don’t have to pay for the labour required to run them. Cleaning equipment rental is a great idea if you require a specialized vacuum to clean your carpets or if you require a negative air machine for a construction project.

Of course! First Response Cleaning will make sure to give you a clear and thorough walkthrough of how to use the equipment you rent and how to get the best results. After all, we are the experts!

First Response Cleaning offers all sorts of equipment rental periods – from short, medium, to long-term rentals. No matter your equipment rental needs, we have options for you. If you have any questions about equipment rental periods, we will be happy to help.

Post Renovation (UFP) Cleaning

If your home or business has undergone moderate to extensive renovations, odds are there is a big mess left behind. Waste, leftover materials, and other trash is often left at the site of renovations and can take a lot of effort to clean. On top of the materials that you can see, renovations often leave behind a lot of Ultra Fine Particles (UFP) which are hard to clean with normal procedures. These particles can be harmful to the health of all those who occupy the building. First Response Cleaning offers post renovation cleaning to leave the space as clean and safe as possible.

Just like the messes that are left behind after a renovation can vary, so too can the cost of the post-renovation cleaning. The cost of the renovation cleaning depends on the size of the area being cleaned, the amount of materials left behind, and the amount of Ultra Fine Particles (UFP) left behind at the scene. To find out how much your renovation cleanup will cost, contact us today.

Similarly to the cost of a post-renovation cleanup, the time involved in cleaning up your property can vary. First Response Cleaning will do everything to work with you to meet important deadlines and get your mess cleaned up as soon as possible. If you would like a time estimate for your renovation cleanup job, contact us today.

Since renovations involve a wide range of materials, there can be quite a variety of hazardous waste leftover after a renovation, such as:

    • Building materials containing asbestos
    • Lead pant
    • Mercury
    • Polychlorinated biphenyls
    • Oils, lubricants, and fumes
    • Compressed gasses
    • Arsenic from pressure treated wood
    • Chemicals from batteries

    Cleaning up after a renovation is a lot of work. Renovations often leave a large amount of debris and waste throughout the property, and dealing with it is not the most fun you can have with your time. In addition, after renovations there are often hazardous materials left over which can have a detrimental effect on your health and all those who occupy the renovated space. First Response Cleaning are post-renovation cleaning experts, and will be sure to get your renovated space safe and clean.

    Drug Lab Cleanup

    If you have reason to suspect there is a drug lab in or around your building, report it immediately to the police. Drug labs can be set up in apartments, motel rooms, trucks, sheds, or many other areas. Clandestine drug labs pose serious dangers to its occupants as well as anybody in the surrounding area. On top of the risk of fires and explosions drug labs can poison people in the area. It is imperative that you contact the police when you have reason to believe there is a drug lab.

    Many meth labs have powerful chemical odour. This odour has been described as smelling like ammonia or ether. Meth labs will often smell like cat urine or rotten eggs. In addition to the strong unusual smells, meth labs often have other signs such as blacked out or covered windows, strange ventilation, elaborate security, and patches of dead vegetation.

    The most immediate dangers of a clandestine drug lab in a building is the risk of fire or explosion. Because of the nature of the chemicals used to produce drugs such as methamphetamines in clandestine laboratories, escaping fumes can cause serious danger to people, even if they are not in the room or building where the lab is. The chemicals can cause central nervous system damage and other health risks. Even after a clandestine drug lab has ceased operations, there are still serious risks. Residue from fumes and spills settle on surfaces and are extremely dangerous.

    Meth labs are extremely dangerous for a number of reasons. The chemical residues left over by the production of the drugs can cause lasting health problems for anyone who comes into contact with them. The dangers don’t end with the lasting health issues from contact with these substances – the extremely volatile chemicals used in their production are flammable and explosive. There have been cases of the plumbing exploding due to the chemicals poured down the drain and toilet. If you are unfortunate enough to have to deal with the aftermath of a drug lab, don’t put your health and those around you at risk – contact us and we will safely clean up the area.

    Yes we can. If you suspect a clandestine drug lab was set up on your property or building, First Response Cleaning can run a series of tests to identify whether or not that is the case. Our chemical tests can identify which hazardous substances are present. If we find anything, we can clean the area for you and get it back to being safe.

    Suicide Scene Cleanup

    Biohazard remediation is the process by which an area is cleaned and disinfected of blood, bodily fluids, and other harmful pathogens after a death, accident, or suicide. In the aftermath of a suicide there are often bodily fluids present which pose a real threat to anyone else who enters or occupies the space. First Response Cleaning uses a full arsenal of cleaning and disinfection products to ensure biohazard remediation.

    After a traumatic situation occurs it is a good idea to contact a professional cleaning service to professionally handle the situation so you don’t have to. Suicides are extremely difficult to manage on a personal level and cleaning up after one can be extremely distressing. There are also health risks associated with cleaning up after such a scene. For your emotional and physical wellbeing, we highly recommend hiring a professional cleaning service such as First Response Cleaning. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us. We are here to help.

    While blood in and of itself is not a biohazard, it could potentially carry bloodborne pathogens or other infectious organisms. The most common bloodborne pathogens are HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. When cleaning blood, it is important to act as though the blood does have bloodborne pathogens or infectious organisms.

    At First Response our team of experts will begin the cleaning process by giving a professional assessment of the situation as well as a plan of action. Once that plan of action has been clearly laid out, our trained and certified experts will enter the space to carefully and quickly begin the professional cleaning. This includes; removing your items from the space, sanitizing, disinfecting, biohazard decontamination and repairs and restoration to your space. Our team always responds rapidly and with discretion.

    We know when dealing with the aftermath of a suicide time is extremely important. First response is available 24/7 on our emergency hotline. We service Ottawa, Cornwall, Kemptville, Belleville, Smith Falls, Perth, Brockville, Kingston, Gananoque and Renfrew. We make sure that we can be there for you as soon as possible.