How do you know when to call in a professional crime scene cleaning company?

Posted: November 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

What defines a crime scene?  When should professionals be called in?  Are crime scene cleanup companies called only when someone dies?

When the average person thinks of crime scene cleanup, they imagine a murder or suicide, blood splattered everywhere, something you would see on ‘Dexter’.  In fact, while we do clean murder and suicide scenes, we also clean scenes where no one has died.   Any major traumatic event could necessitate a professional coming in and cleaning the scene.   A person who is shot and lives, for instance, is going to bleed out more than a person who dies instantly.  Often there’s no crime committed at all.  An unattended death may not be discovered for quite some time.  The task of cleaning up such scenes falls to professionals in the biorecovery business.

Most often we’re called in by family members to attend to a scene, but sometimes it’s the landlord or business owner who calls in our services.  Lay people often expect law enforcement or the medical crew to “take the blood with them”, but that isn’t their job, and in fact, after they leave there could be an even bigger mess.  Fingerprint powder, crime scene tape, and even empty wrappers from the emergency medical team’s equipment could be littering the area.  Furthermore, law enforcement is not allowed to endorse one company over another, leaving a lot of people in a fog about what to do, who to call.

That’s where we come in.  Our job is to try to restore a little bit of normalcy back to your home.  And while we’re on the subject, did you know that our services aren’t specific to houses and office buildings?  We also work outdoors, for instance in the case of a train versus pedestrian or a contaminated swimming pool.  The back seat of a police car or taxi can get quite contaminated, and is often targeted for special cleaning.  Jail cells, as well, may have need of biohazard material removal.   In fact, biohazards are not limited to just blood.  Any bodily fluid can be contaminated, including blood, tissue, vomit, sputum, urine, semen, and feces.

The contamination doesn’t necessarily have to come from a human, either.  Animals are huge vectors for spreading disease.  Hauntavirus is spread by the dried urine and feces of deer mice.  

An unknowing person goes into an old, seldom-used shed or garage to clean, and while sweeping up the mess, small particles of dust infected with the dried up rodent droppings are inhaled.

Hoarding animals can lead to other disease, as well, such as toxoplasmosis, which is also transferred through feces, this time that of the cat, and is very common.

Remember reading about bubonic plague in school?  We’ll it’s still around.  In fact, a woman here in Oregon was diagnosed with bubonic plague in 2010.  It’s not as uncommon as people might think.  Thankfully, it is treatable when caught early.

I’m not trying to scare people or cause a panic.  My goal is to make people aware of what circumstances professional cleaning is warranted.  Better to let your homeowner’s or car insurance pay for us to come in and clean your scene, than to take a chance of infecting yourself or your living space.

And most important, the last thing you need to be doing after the death or traumatic injury of a loved one is cleaning up.  That’s a time for friends and family to gather around and support one another.  Leave the cleaning to the professionals.

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