It would be an encompassing statement to say that no one is quite prepared to deal with a crime scene, particularly if it involves a homicide or a violent crime. For one thing, only a few people could even consider how to restore a home back to its previous state before the crime. A more distressing fact would be the reality that the people who are left with the task of cleaning up blood, human remains and other parts or fluids have to deal with all these gore left by someone they knew or is part of their family. Not only would this be emotionally tasking, it is quite hazardous as well.
During the past several years or so, the task of cleaning up after a violent death or a messy crime is left in the hands of family members or friends. Although they do not have to deal with the body itself, the remnants of possibly biohazardous materials and waste can put the health of cleaners at risks. In this area, professional crime scene cleanup services can be hired to perform and deal with the legal, emotional and safety aspects of a crime-scene cleanup. These professionals can deal with biohazards and are equipped to clean and dispose of such wastes.
The following is a brief discussion about crime scene cleanup work and how homeowners can get the proper services they would need should their household be involved in a violent or gruesome crime. Hiring the services of these professionals can spare these homeowners from the emotional agony of doing the cleanup themselves, however, there are certain things that homeowners are responsible for and should consider first before hiring these cleanup services.
A Background on Crime Scene Cleanup Services
Crime scene cleaning involves restoring the scene of the crime back to its normal state after officials have completed their investigative work and required information and necessary evidences have been collected and properly documented.
It was only recently when crime scene cleaning came to be known as CTS or Crime and Trauma Scene Decontamination. The main focus for this kind of work is to decontaminate the crime scene from possible biohazardous materials and remnants particularly those resulting from a violent crime or those involving illegal substances and other chemicals. Crime scene cleaners are trained to detect and clean potential biohazards, even those small enough and invisible to the naked eye.
These professionals have a unique set of characteristics to be able to deal with the rigors of this chosen field. They not only have the stomach to endure death and gore, technical enough to handle biohazards, but should also be sensitive enough to be sensitive and discreet to the family members left behind. These people would like to make a difference for the community by helping out grieving families in cleaning up their homes.
Crime scene services are on call for emergencies and can respond anytime whenever there is a crime scene. However, it should be noted that the crime scene cleanup crews are not in any way involved in the legal and investigative aspects of the job. Cleanup services also do not deal with the body directly as this is handled by the coroner or medical examiner, but they can deal with body remnants and by-products no matter what stage of decomposition the body was at the moment of discovery.
Crime Scene Cleanup Services and Your Insurance Coverage
Nobody would be certain about eventualities in the future, but it would always be the best approach to be ready for anything, and this includes clauses for crime cleanup services in your insurance coverage. In recent years, the inclusion of this clause in a homeowner's insurance policy has been a standard practice, however, it would still be wise to make sure that it is indeed included in your policies and are covered when such unforeseen events take place.
What to Look for when Hiring Crime Scene Cleanup Services
Although several companies have emerged in this line of business, finding the ideal company could still be a very taxing and complicated endeavor for a homeowner, particularly if he or she also has to deal with the emotional stress as a result of the crime. These companies have competitive prices for their services, which usually run in the average of $600 an hour. The price may be steep, but a homeowner should consider the emotional agony and biohazard risk should they opt to do the cleanup on their own.
When hiring a company, you should look for a group that has considerable experience and know-how in this line of work, particularly those with a good reputation in the field. This may cost you at the higher end of the bracket but the services you can get can be headache free and reassuring. These companies are on call 24 hours a day and have available websites and online resources.
Some companies already offer a list of specific prices for a particular scenario or crime scene, but it would always be a wise move to ask for price quotes after a thorough assessment of the scope of work. Most significant factors in pricing would be the amount of personnel needed to complete the task and how long the crew can perform the task completely. The amount of waste or gross factor can also determine the price quotations. As a rule of thumb, the more experience the company has and the more advance the type of equipments they use can determine the price ranges you may get.
Homeowner's Responsibilities when Hiring Cleanup Services
The following are some responsibilities that a homeowner has when selecting for a cleanup services that he or she will hire.
* The crime scene cleanup crew is called in only after the investigators and law officials have given the go signal to start filming.
* As mentioned earlier, crime scenes can involve hazardous materials and waste so the crime scene cleanup company you will hire should have the proper gear and equipment for these types of jobs.
* Crime scenes, particularly those involving violent death and crime, can have bodily fluid remnants as well as blood and tissues left at the scene of the crime. These are considered biohazards and should be handled safely. You should make sure that the companies you are selecting are capable and knowledgeable to deal and handle biohazard materials.
* The company should know what to search for when looking for biohazard materials during cleanup. They should be able to determine and interpret possible splatters of biohazard materials within the crime scene, and be able to establish the extent of the cleanup work your crime scene would require.
* It is the homeowner's responsibility to check if these crime scene cleanup services have the proper permits as required by your state.
* Wearing safety gears should be a prerequisite for the crew of the crime scene before starting with any of their cleanup work. In modern times, disposable protective gears are preferred, since they can offer the best protection against contamination. Protective clothing includes gloves, suits, respirators, and chemical resistant boots.
* The crime scene cleanup company should make use of special cleaning tools like customized brushes, special sprayers and wet/dry vacuum cleaners. These tools prevent direct contact by the crewmember to the hazardous materials. Some of these special tools include a steam injection tool that is used in sanitizing dried biohazard remnants. The company should also have special tanks and dispensers for treatment chemicals, including the waste containers where the biohazard wastes are to be collected. Homeowners should make sure that these companies have these equipments.
* Aside from the specialized tools, the cleanup crew should also have available supplies and cleaning products. Materials that should be included are industrial strength disinfectants, and should include hydrogen peroxide and other bleaches. To clean bloodstains, the crew should use enzyme solvers, which can also clean viruses and bacteria. To deal with the foul odor left by the crime scene, the cleanup company should have foggers, deodorizers and ozone machines.
* Crime scene cleanup services should be equipped with proper cameras to document the crime scene before the actual work can start. These photos can be used for legal matters and can be utilized for insurance purposes. As a back up, homeowners can take the photos themselves, but some may be too emotionally stressed by the situation and may not be able to take even the simplest of shots.
* Since the crime scene cleanup company is dealing with biohazard materials, the homeowner should ensure that the company is equipped with the proper containers and specialized transportation equipment that ordinary cleaning and janitorial services may not have. This is to prevent exposure of the biohazard materials to the general public and cause health risks.
Choosing the proper and most qualified crime scene cleanup worker is a responsibility by the homeowners to spare themselves and their families or friends the additional anguish of having to deal with the cleanup work on their own. Hiring a cleanup company to deal with the crime scene involves not only choosing a qualified crew with specialized trainings, but they should also be a crew that has a sympathetic nature and should thread the crime site with respect.