People who are fond of watching gory films and violent movies would most likely lose this inclination towards such kinds of shows after experiencing a similar scene in real life. No one actually would be quite prepared to encounter or even deal with a crime scene. The situation would even be more complicated if the crime scene involves a violent crime or a homicide, which involves blood and body parts. Gross as it may seem, but that would be the reality people would face if they do encounter such crime scenes in their vicinity or even within their own homes.
A crime scene can be a very complicated situation. If the crime involves death, no one is allowed to either touch or move anything unless the officers of the law have entered the scene for processing of evidence including examination of the body. Not only is the crime itself a horrific act that could emotionally and mentally affect everyone in the household, but seeing the dead relative or friend remaining on the scene while police are doing their work would definitely put a big emotional strain to anyone who was left behind.
The Need for Crime Scene Cleanup Services
In the old days, the task of cleaning up the crime scene after the police have done their investigation and the body processed and removed remains in the hands of friends and relatives. This task would be very taxing for them both physically and emotionally, knowing that they are cleaning up bodily remains of what was once a part of their friends, family or loved ones who met a tragic death. Instead of grieving for their loss, these people would need to perform the dirty and unhealthy task of cleaning up the crime scene themselves.
Now that crime scene cleanup services are available for such work, these people will be spared from doing the cleanup themselves and focus on their grief and other related and important actions that are related to the crime. The police may be in need of assistance from these friends and families and no one would be left to handle the cleanup work. Crime scene cleanup services make it possible for friends or family to assist the police in whatever help or cooperation that they need to finally solve the crime.
Another important thing to note is that crime scenes such as these may involve the discharge of bodily fluids. People who are not qualified to handle such materials may be placed at health risks should they try to cleanup the affected areas themselves. Crime scene cleanup services are equipped to handle such fluids and discharges and can sanitize the affected and surrounding areas properly. This can remove health risks associated with such exposures and prevent further contamination to other parts of the home.
Considerations to Take Before Hiring Crime Scene Cleanup Services
Crime scene cleanup services, or otherwise known as CTS or the Crime and Trauma Scene Decontamination services, have the main task of decontaminating a crime scene from bodily remnants and other potential biohazards that are left behind after a possibly violent crime. Crime scene cleanup may also involve the work of cleaning up a crime location where illegal materials or substances and maybe hazardous chemicals have been used.
Unlike the cleanup work performed by other occupants of the home who were left behind, crime scene cleanup crews can thoroughly clean and disinfect the area and remove any remnants of biohazards from the vicinity. These professionals are trained to search and detect biohazards that are not noticeable by other untrained people, particularly relatives or friends who were left to deal with the remnants and discharges.
Before hiring the services of a crime scene cleanup crew, there are certain considerations that should be taken into account first. The following lists these considerations as a guide for people who may have the need of calling help from a crime scene service company.
* The Use of Protective Clothing and Gear
As mentioned earlier, a crime scene may involve the discharge of bodily fluids that can be considered biohazards, or the crime scene may include the presence of illegal or hazardous chemicals and substances. In this regard, the crime scene company and their crew should be equipped enough to handle such chemicals and substances.
In order to perform such a task, the crime scene service crew should have appropriate protective clothing and gear to prevent direct contact with the bio-hazardous materials. Protective gear should be approved by OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who sets the standard in protective clothing. Protection should include the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth. This includes goggles, masks, respirators, gloves, boots and clothes. The trend nowadays is to use disposable protective clothing to prevent the risk of contamination from re-use.
* The Use of Specialized Cleaning Equipments and Tools
A crime scene cleanup crew should have appropriate tools and equipments that can handle biohazards and other hazardous chemicals to minimize or zero out risk for contamination. These include specialized kinds of brushes, sprayers and dispensers, and a wet vacuum machine. These tools can minimize or prevent direct contact of the personnel from the hazardous materials while the cleanup work is being performed.
Another important tool that is necessary for crime scene cleanup is a steam injection tool. These are usually large and mounted, although there are new equipments available that are more portable. Crime scenes involve the excretion or discharge of bodily fluids, scattered blood and flesh remnants, and even brain fragments. Violent crimes such as this may take hours to process under the investigation of the police and lawful authorities. This prolonged duration could dry up these bodily fluids and would be difficult to remove. The steam injection tool is used to sanitize these dried up remnants making it easy for removal and disposal.
Other handy tools should also be available like sledgehammers, ladders, and saw that the crime scene cleanup crew will use to gain access to areas that may have been contaminated during the crime.
* The Use of Appropriate Cleaning Chemicals
Aside from the tools required for cleaning, the crime scene cleanup crew should also make use of appropriate cleaning supplies and chemicals. These substances may be available to any cleaning companies but you should take note that for crime scene use, the cleaning compounds should be of industrial grade to be able to fully clean and disinfect the affected areas. Some of these cleaners and cleaning agents include:
- Bleach and disinfectants: hospital or industrial grade. Can include hydrogen peroxide
- To remove blood stains, enzyme solvers should be used. These products are also good for destroying bacteria and other viruses that may be present
- Deodorizers to remove unpleasant odors and smells. It would also be a good complement of the crime scene cleanup crew makes use of ozone machines and foggers to remove unwanted odors.
* The Use of Disposal Equipment
Cleaning is one aspect of the job, while proper disposal is another and should be taken into consideration during the crime scene cleanup work. The crew should be equipped with specialized disposal tanks that contain chemical treatments. There should also be waste disposal containers that can contain and seal biohazard wastes from exposure. Such equipments should be of industrial grade.
Transportation of the biohazard wastes should also be done using appropriate vehicles that can move these tanks and disposal units from the crime scene and onto the disposal location. This is not an ordinary janitorial service job so there is a need for more specialized equipment and the crime scene service company should be fully equipped with these.
* The Use of Documentation Equipment
The crime scene service crew should also be trained in getting pictures of the affected area before they proceed with the cleanup job. Family members and friends of the victim may not be in a position to take these photos themselves as they may be suffering from emotional agony at that particular moment. This leaves the documentation work to the service crew themselves. Such documentation and photos is required later for insurance purposes and can also be used for potential legal matters related to the crime. Although the crime scene investigators have taken photographs of their own, which contains detailed photos of the crime and the affected body, such type of pictures may not be necessary for insurance purposes and could not be used immediately unless released by the police.
Other Things to Consider before Finalizing an Agreement
On top of the considerations for hiring a crime scene service company listed above, other important facts should also be taken into consideration. One of these is the length of service that the company has been in operation. It would be better to hire a service company who has years of experience in this special industry and has established themselves.
However, hiring the services of an experienced company may incur higher costs. The incident or the crime is an unexpected one and the family members or friends who are left behind may not have the adequate resources to pay for the services, unless it is included in the victim's insurance coverage. Balance the need for a crime scene cleanup service with your available resources. Local officials can also help in identifying viable companies that can give you affordable rates while maintaining good services.