Case Studies

Cousino-Harris Disaster Kleenup

Returning to the Norm with Priceless Property Restoration

When a traumatic event or accident occurs, Cousino-Harris Disaster Kleenup (CHDK) wastes no time getting right to work. Once the Ohio-based restoration company arrives on the scene, emergency response work begins around the clock, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week until the client’s operation is back to normal. For more than 42 years, CHDK has supported commercial, residential and multifamily facilities managers, insurance companies, homebuilders and property owners with full-service property restoration backed by expert environmental sensitivity.

“We deliver about 1,200 jobs per year with instant response on damages due to wind, water, fire and contamination of all kinds; from sewage backups to trauma clean up,” says Forrest Cousino, chairman of CHDK. “Our business is a must do now; we never close. CHDK has to be prepared to correct any situation that occurs that damages, or threatens to, of any kind, to reduce further damages and total reconstruction. In our business, instant response is required with sometimes 24-hour work schedules until the project is complete.”

A Trusted Name Backed by a Trusted Team

CHDK’s expertly executed service is backed by the company’s membership in Disaster Kleenup International (DKI), North America’s largest disaster restoration contracting organization. DKI is comprised of industry-leading, independent property damage restoration contractors and the organization services a large network of customers who value expertise.

Forrest and his son, Michael Cousino, now president of CHDK, have partnered in the company’s ownership for decades. “CHDK was established in 1970,” notes Forrest. “We have come a long way, with five offices throughout Ohio and Michigan. We just opened a new office in Cleveland several months ago.”

But Forrest says the company wouldn’t be where it is now without a trusted team. “We have about 100 employees,” he shares. “Our success is a testament of having good, trained employees. It all comes down to them. They go to work with no questions asked. There are no slackers, no standing around or scratching their heads. We have the equipment and we take care of it and we build relationships and make friends with our clients as a result.”

In and Out Without a Trace

CHDK fosters relationships by responding quickly and doing what’s best for clients. “One of our most significant recent jobs was at large health care organization that suffered two major water losses,” details Forrest. “On one of the projects, the 4-inch water sprinkler system broke on the fourth floor; that averages out to about 12 swimming pools worth of water that saturated the lower three floors.”

According to Forrest, CHDK responded with 40 people within an hour and more than 100 crew members in less than two hours. “The building’s thick masonry walls trapped a tremendous amount of water so there were two rooms that were particularly wet that took an extra week, but we worked round-the-clock, 7-days-a-week to get the job done,” he continues.

Forrest says it’s about getting the job done in a timely manner, but also treading lightly within a facilities environment. “Whether it be a school, factory, office building or a business, we deal with containment standards relating to infectious disease so there’s an enormous amount of communication with the facilities staff,” he reveals. “This is how we truly build a relationship. In this case, the facilities staff said we saved them a great deal of heartache and money.”

In another recent case the duct system at a surgery center was contaminated, CHDK moved instantly to get it up and running. “We got the call on a Friday afternoon and we worked throughout the entire weekend, without having to relocate a single patient,” recounts Forrest. “We completed the job within the weekend, as well as a clearance test by the surgery center’s staff and an outside air testing consultant.”

But often times, CHDK has even less time to get a facility going again. “A blanket caught fire early in the morning at a health care in-house patient center and the chemical fire extinguisher contaminated an entire wing through the duct system,” recalls Forrest. “We were given a nine-hour timeline to complete the job and we did it with time to spare, including hand cleaning all walls, ceilings, flooring and contents.”

According to Forrest, the type of service CHDK delivers is something its clients can’t put a price tag on, especially in the case of medical facilities and schools where time is of the essence.

“Moving clients around takes resources, time and money,” he says. “We help them with quick response and the professionalism of our workforce. Our experience, financial stability, excellent craftsmanship and speed of completion continue to set us apart.”

CHDK goes above and beyond to make things better for clients, as well as the community. The DKI member company has been a proud participant in the ABC Series, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, surprising a Columbus-based family with a dream home. CHDK assisted in the project by providing drying services, from dehumidification to around the clock monitor and labor to expedite the drying of drywall, primer and painting in the home’s interior and exterior. From toy drives to veteran’s memorials and food banks, CHDK is an active member of the community.

After coming through the recession, Forrest says CHDK continues to focus on people first and foremost. “We had a mission statement we used for years, but when things really slowed down it was time to reevaluate,” he explains. “We gathered the top management of the company to make sure we were all running on the same track. I think companies that don’t do that are like a ship without a rudder.”

Back on track and continuing to put customers and its community first, Cousino-Harris Disaster Kleenup remains a trusted name in emergency response and property restoration.

Published on: July 9, 2014

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