The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

— Teddy Roosevelt

In 2015, some hardworking restoration industry pros decided it was time to launch some more official forensic restoration training within the industry. When it was all over, organizers called the inaugural year of the conference a huge success, and brought it back again this year with the theme: in the arena. How appropriate for this industry, and specifically this niche.

This year’s conference was Oct. 10-13 in St. Louis, Missouri, and included two days of classroom training, and a third day that was all hands-on instruction. Day one started with a rather in-depth lesson on body decomposition. During unattended death forensic restoration jobs, for example, it can be helpful for the restorer to understand the breadth of the contamination based on how long it took for the person to be discovered. The first day also included a look at some more specific forensic restoration case studies and how they were handled – as well as discussions on how to help clients through a tragedy.

Day two was more into the nitty gritty of forensic restoration. Everyone received a copy of the brand new RIA Forensic Restoration Guidelines, which are meant to serve as a summary of best practices when doing this kind of work. By the end of the day, attendees were well able to choose appropriate containment, PPE, and cleanup measures for various scenarios.

The final day proved to be the most insightful, thanks to well thought-out hands-on training exercises. Much of the day focused on proper PPE, but by late afternoon, attendees were on their hands and knees inside containment structures they built, cleaning blood and gut-stained drywall.  

Summary of 2016 RIA Forensic Conference (PDF)"