24/7 cleanup biz makes its way to Merritt

·4 min read

Stutters DKI (Disaster Kleenup International), is expanding their services to the Merritt area.

A restoration company that handles flood, fire, mold and asbestos remediation as well as COVID-19 era deep cleaning, Stutters will be taking over the work previously performed by Thompson Valley Restoration.

The Herald sat down with Operations Manager Jason Side to talk about the history of the company and how they can help residents of the Nicola Valley with unexpected situations that affect the safety of their homes.

“We are the largest company all the way from basically 70 Mile House to the US border,” said Side.

“We have technicians in all the different cities: Castlegar, Osoyoos, Penticton, Vernon, Kelowna, West Bank. We are looking to expand another office into the actual town of Merritt, right now we cover the zone from Logan Lake-Kamloops areas, but we are looking at possibly adding in another office location here. You’ll be seeing us out here all the time.”

Stutters began as Stutters Construction Co. Ltd. in Kelowna in 1982, founded by Keith Stutters and his wife Loretta. By 1995 they had opened offices in other Okanagan locations, and a few years after that they had expanded to include content restoration and hazardous material remediation dealing with asbestos and vermiculite.

Stutters promotes themselves as being available 24/7, for any disaster big or small, with Side noting they generally have the ability to jump in and get to work immediately.

“Just as an example of what we do, a few nights ago we got a call from a brand-new development that was getting ready to hand over and move everybody in, and a pipe broke in the wall and completely devastated the entire 20 units,” said Side.

“We were able to get 20 technicians in there, suck it up, dry it out and potentially save them all from not being able to move in. These are the types of things we try to do.”

Deep cleaning and sanitizing in the case of COVID-19 exposure has recently become another facet of the company’s offerings.

“Another thing that’s really big for us right now is COVID cleaning for a lot of the government and municipalities,” said Side.

“Which means that whenever there’s an exposure, we don’t just come in with our girls and clean, we physically test with a test process, and then we do the cleaning, and then we test after so we can show that it is good, from that point. Then it’s up to them to set up protocols to try to limit exposure, whether it’s masks, wiping, or not allowing people essentially to be in the offices, we’re seeing more and more people are just working remotely.”

This is nothing new for Side, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry.

“Interestingly this is my third pandemic, I’ve been a crisis manager for more than 20 years, working in the real estate and property management business as well as working with floods and fires in that industry,” explained Side.

“I actually moved out from the large Vancouver and Calgary areas to have a slower pace. Who would have thought I’d pick another crisis job, I should have just worked at Purolator,” Side joked.

That being said, Side believes that the work Stutters does helps people when they need it most, and that it is a rewarding career. He is also thrilled with the technological advancements that have been made in the industry, which makes the work progress more efficiently and creates a higher level of safety and satisfaction for clients.

“Technically we have advanced tremendously, when I first started in the industry, we just had a stick that went beep beep beep, and whatever it beeped at we just removed,” said Side.

“Now we have thermal cameras, so we can actually see the moisture and where it’s travelled, pinpoint it, and prove it by picture and say it’s been there, so potentially mold could grow and then your air quality could have an issue.”

New ‘air scrubbers’ are also popular, with the area being prone to wildfires and the resulting smoke which can cause respiratory issues for many people. These filter the air in schools, businesses and municipal buildings as the doors open and close many times throughout the day.

Stutters DKI is a member of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), fully insured and qualified, with more than 100 criminal record checked employees. Whether it’s fire, smoke, water, storm or environmental damage, call Stutters when disaster strikes.

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald