Crime scene cleaners spend their working lives surrounded by trauma. Day after day they receive frantic calls made by people essentially in shock with no idea how to handle the mess left behind after police, E.M.S., and the coroner have gone. Most people don’t understand that the responsibility of cleaning up a crime scene falls to the property owner.
It’s hard to document a typical day in the life of a crime scene cleanup technician because no two days are the same. There are so many variables, and each crime scene is different. Sometimes there are only a few drops of blood; sometimes every surface in the room is splattered; sometimes, in cases where the victim wasn’t discovered for a while, the body has melted. The sheer scale of cleanup in such cases is unimaginable.
The main thing crime scene cleaners can count on – it won’t be pretty. Even when they reach a scene soon after death, there is a distinct smell present. Blood and bodily fluids splatter everywhere and seep into every surface, bits of tissue and brain matter remain behind. Crime scenes are not for the faint of heart, and even the most hardened cleaner can be overcome by nausea.
The aforementioned frantic phone calls come with no predictability; crime scene cleaning is not a 9:00-5:00 job. The phone may ring at 2 a.m., and the job won’t wait. The longer a crime scene waits to be cleaned, the worse it becomes. Odor sets in; fluids soak deeper and deeper into floors and upholstery; the likelihood of biohazard contamination spreading increases.
Crime scene cleaners often find themselves faced with grieving family members who need help, both with cleanup and with their sense of loss. No one should have to clean up the scene of a loved one’s homicide.
Part of the job is talking to the family about what’s going to happen in the cleanup process. It’s often a relief for them to hear that homeowner’s insurance covers any type of death cleanup.
By being compassionate, understanding, and respectful, professional cleaners offer reassurance that the property is in expert hands and will be cleaned thoroughly and quickly.
Going in and cleaning up death scenes day in and day out calls for a certain level of desensitization and depersonalization. Cleaners often report going into a scene and turning pictures of the victim upside down so as not to see glimpses of their personal life. Not knowing someone was a new father or mother or a beloved son or daughter makes the job a little easier. Crime scene cleaners just want to get the job done professionally and get out without personal involvement.
The goal of effective biohazard remediation is to contain the contamination, decontaminate the property, and fully remediate all potential blood-borne pathogens and visible blood stains. Sometimes this involves major demolition of floors and walls, depending on how deeply fluids have seeped.
Full personal protective equipment helps keep technicians safe from biohazards and from the industrial strength cleaners and disinfectants they use.
Crime scene cleaners require special training to properly decontaminate a site, and they have to follow all local, state, and federal regulations for handling biohazards. Though laws differ from place to place, everything contaminated with bodily fluids or tissue must go into special biohazardous waste bags or containers. In many places, permits are required for transporting and disposing of biohazardous material.
The idea that you would spend your life cleaning up after horrific crimes is impossible for most people to fathom. When faced with such a task though, isn’t it comforting to know that there are professionals who dedicate themselves to such work?
In Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada, Sterile Pros is a trusted name in crime scene cleanup. If the unthinkable happens, it’s comforting to know who to call on for help.