When I was a young girl, my father became an entrepreneur after he quit his secure job at Eli Lilly Corporation as a union electrician in 1972 and started his own electrical contracting business. I have many memories sitting around our family dining room table during evening meals listening to dad and mom talking about the business. In many ways my preparation for running a corporation began back in the seventies at that very dining room table.

In 1979, the same year I graduated from high school and started working for my father’s company, my grandfather retired, so my father purchased his father’s general contracting company.

In 1984 my father appointed me President of the family business and gifted me with 10 percent ownership shares in the corporation. Fortunately, I gained the fortitude to steer the helm of the family contracting business in the direction of performing insurance repair work rather than continue as a general construction company.

In the 1990’s I continued my education and training and received many certifications from IICRC

[Institute of Inspection Cleaning Repairs Corporation]. IICRC establishes nationally recognized rules and regulations for restoration contractors who perform fire, wind, water and mold remediation work. Our family business is a certified firm of IICRC.

In 2001, I attended an IICRC training class. One section covered death and crime scene cleaning; this course peaked my interest. Since our company was already certified for cleaning in odor, fire and smoke damage; it seemed logical to add death and crime scene cleaning to our list of services. However, marketing a general contracting company as a cleaning company for a death scene seemed quite difficult. Therefore, in 2001 I created a sister company called Crisis Cleaning.

Under the new company name I attended trade shows of funeral directors, coroners and sheriffs whenever they held annual conferences. In the summer of 2006, during the annual sheriff’s trade show, many sheriffs who came by our booth asked if our company did meth lab cleaning. Multiple sheriffs told us how much of a problem it was becoming and that there was a great need for companies to assist in the cleaning of meth lab contaminated homes. They weren’t talking about helping law enforcement with the removal of chemicals from the home. They were talking about the cleanup of the properties from the residue left after the cooking or smoking of methamphetamine. I remembered the important business fact about starting a successful business. “Find a unique niche, or fill a need or demand that’s not being met and you’ll have lots of business.” I felt deep in my heart that this was the niche or need that was not being effectively met and decided to pursue this further.

In 2006, I did research on meth lab cleaning and discovered that our own state of Indiana was in the process of creating laws governing the cleanup of illegal drug labs. Therefore, I took all the required training classes and obtained certification from IDEM [Indiana Department of Environmental Management] in January, 2007 as a Qualified Inspector.

On March 23, 2007 Indiana’s new drug lab law governing the cleanup of illegal drug labs became effective. My name and company were listed on their website as a company qualified in Indiana to perform inspections, testing and decontamination services on illegal drug labs.

Unlike death and crime scene cleaning, most property owners found themselves dealing with the costs of cleaning up meth contaminated properties without the assistance of insurance coverage. When property owners, including rental property owners, called their insurance companies to report a claim, they were told “No, the testing and cleaning of meth lab residue were not covered.” At that time, I did not do my own research, I, like most property owners, accepted the verbal refusal from the insurance companies.

With the denial of insurance proceeds, many property owners were cleaning up their meth lab contaminated properties on their own even though Indiana’s drug lab law only allowed such cleaning by property owners under the written supervision of a Qualified Inspector. After doing their own cleaning without consulting a Qualified Inspector; property owners called our company to schedule testing. They hoped their cleaning efforts were successful in ridding their property of methamphetamine contamination.

Unfortunately, I found, without proper instructions, many property owners were using the wrong products or were covering over the methamphetamine contamination by painting. They did not realize that painting alone, especially using the wrong type of paint, does not encapsulate the methamphetamine contamination. The methamphetamine contamination was seeping through the paint.

Knowing that most property owners were faced with the financial burden of funding the cleanup themselves and without proper instructions; I again felt the same urging to fill an unmet need as I did in 2006 when the sheriffs asked if our company provided meth lab cleaning services. Therefore, in 2009 I began writing this book to fill the need of providing a proper step-by-step guide to cleaning meth residue in the home based on my professional experiences.

It wasn’t until April 2010 on a particular decontamination job the property owners were successful in obtaining insurance proceeds to cover all the costs of the testing and decontamination services that our company performed for them. Their insurance company even covered all the costs of replacement and repairs that were necessary for all porous items {structural or personal contents} that had to be disposed of.

However, there are many states without drug lab laws. Property owners in those states may be forced to do the cleanup themselves, especially if insurance proceeds are not available in their situation. The need for effective step-by-step instructions still exists, which fueled my desire to continue and finish this book.

I’m sure there will be critics of this book, particularly remediation contractors who will say cleaning of an illegal drug lab is too dangerous for property owners to do themselves. My response is, “It’s even more dangerous for property owners to do the cleanup of an illegal drug lab without the proper instructions!” Therefore, the purpose of this book is to provide property owners with the effective information needed to safely undertake such tasks on their own.

While there are several states with regulations that do not permit property owners to do their own cleanup, several states do permit the property owner to perform this task under the supervision of the remediation contractor who is qualified in that state to perform meth lab decontamination services. There are also many states without any regulations at all. This book will provide the knowledge and resources to many property owners who don’t have a clue what they should do if faced with meth contaminated property.

Once the dangerous chemicals are removed from the home by law enforcement, the contamination of meth residue, as a result of cooking or smoking meth in the property, is still there lurking unseen in the interior of the home. It must be cleaned up before the property is safe for habitation, especially by small children.