During the big fires in Southern California a restoration company (with a fully equipped contents division) was asked to clean, deodorize and decontaminate a small group of schools in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Each school had about 30 or so classrooms, offices, libraries, bathrooms etc., and before the contents team could complete this assignment, they were asked to take a look at the rest of the schools in the area.

The team did such an exemplary job of HEPA vacuuming, wet wiping, HVAC cleaning, deodorization etc., that the school district asked them to keep going and do the same for all the schools in the district.

The team exceeded all expectations – the jobs were all finished in three weeks and almost 8,000 students and teachers returned to school a week early.

The school representatives remembered them about a year later, when a new fire broke out between the same two counties, destroying old movie and TV show sets, celebrity homes and thoroughly contaminating schools in 5 districts.

In all, 50 schools were affected and needed the contents valet.

When the call came in, the company’s 70 front line workers were already deployed in 5 different schools and the owner didn’t dare reduce that number in order to tackle all the new jobs.

So using the successful strategy that had worked so well the year before, the owner considered hiring day workers to help fill in the ranks. But he really needed people who were dedicated to the success of the mission – because every day the schools remained closed was another day the students and faculty lost.

This time, he and his staff called friends, relatives and even people whose communities were directly affected by the fire and smoke.

The ones who agreed to come, were supervised by his more experienced team members.

He explained, “We had retired firemen, contractors, parents of students that attended the schools, we had people from all walks of life…we were helping them, they were helping us.”

He even reached out to other companies and hired project managers to oversee individual schools.

Ash kept raining down and at one point a fire re-ignited behind two of the schools, but the restoration company owner had chosen right – the front line workers grabbed hoses and fought the fires in the brush until the fire fighters could get to them.

And when the Malibu school district called, they explained that they had 5 schools that really needed the restoration valet – but the fire had knocked out their power.

In all there were about 24,000 students and faculty without schools.

The contents valet (and their new found friends) pushed on and in the end, they saved an estimated $3,000,000 over replacement costs. Air and surface testing showed all the schools were safe, and the students lost only 7-10 days of school.

The contents valet do the extraordinary on every job – and sometimes we get a little help from our friends.