I am a licensed funeral director and embalmer. From 2000 to 2010, I served families in 9 locations in several states. With the exception of a few prep labs, I can say that none of those rooms had proper ventilation. Some had jerry-rigged bathroom exhaust fans! I could go on about the other prep rooms. I think the chief compliant most embalmers have is the fumes we are exposed to. We know that formaldehyde and phenol are carcinogens. I have battled lymphoma and bone cancer so I worry every time I step into that room. In some of the prep rooms I had to run out into the garage or outdoors to clear my lungs. Three years ago I discovered that my olfactory nerves were damaged by formaldehyde. How many of you older embalmers know what I’m talking about? No sense of smell. And it’s permanent. Think of what that’s doing to your lungs.

When Gate to Heaven Funeral Home hired me last year as their funeral director and I experienced their excellent ventilation system, I can truly say that Duncan Stuart Todd should be the company to call when you’re planning a preparation room. Years ago I would see photos in funeral magazines of Duncan Stuart Todd prep rooms featuring that long-armed pipe over the table with the clear plastic hood and wonder – does that thing really work? It sure does! Excellent, negative exhaust. I used to have burning sinuses and could hardly see from tears in my eyes. I no longer have that problem. The vent pipe also features what I call an operating room light built within the clear hood. Duncan Stuart Todd realized the additional light the operator needs in the prep room.

By the way, another reason to choose Duncan Stuart Todd is the design, or layout of the prep room. They make everything convenient for the operator. We have enclosed cabinets with drawers that roll out for your viscera hardening compounds. There’s another cabinet with a rolling tray to hold your bio-hazard container. The countertops are easy to clean and the counter plumbing at the foot of the table features an aspirator and water station for the embalming machine. The actual aspirator is hidden, out of the way under the counter. The trocar hose easily disconnects so we don’t leave it lying on the counter. Also built into the counter is a lid-covered three-trocar container with wells for sanitizing solution. We have the pedal operated sinks which come in handy when you’re cleaning instruments or clearing debris from your gloves during embalming. The instrument and hand wash sink both have foot pedals. Our hand wash station also features the eyewash station.

We have a ceiling mounted overhead reel hose with sprayer for our embalming table. I don’t know how many times I had the sink hose (with suction cup) fall off the table onto the floor and I had to have a mop and bucket nearby. With the overhead, adjustable locking hose and sprayer I set the flow to gently spray down the table and it keeps my work area clean without getting water all over the floor. Another feature that I know is there, if I need it, is the overhead safety shower with the handle built into the wall.

I could go on and on about our new prep room. If you are planning to build a funeral home, or thinking about remodeling your existing prep room, I strongly suggest that you call the folks at Duncan Stuart Todd.

Thomas Crown
Funeral Director and Embalmer
Gate to Heaven Funeral Home
Dearborn, Michigan

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