Cleaning up a crime scene is never an easy affair. This is not like your ordinary kind of cleaning where you will gather up the usual household cleaning supplies, some brushes and buckets then get going. It entails a lot more, and it requires you to have some specialized training as well as some emotional fitness for you to be active at the job.
It is never easy cleaning a room with blood and bodily fluids scattered all over, with the relatives of the deceased sobbing in the next room. That being the case, what exactly goes on in a typical crime scene cleanup? Read below to find out more.
Why crime scene cleanup is important
Crime scenes vary in nature, and not all of them will require professional crime scene cleanup. A clean-up is usually necessary when there are injuries or even death with blood and other bodily fluids left behind. The spilled fluids, especially blood, can have detrimental effects not just on the building’s interior alone.
If not taken care of in good time, blood and other bodily fluids have the potential of infecting the current and future occupants of the spaces with certain types of blood-borne infections. A crime scene cleanup expert has the right training, skills, and experience to thoroughly clean up the mess, and ensure that it is safe once again for normal occupancy. Due to the nature of this kind of cleaning, it is not something that you can easily trust your average office cleaner to take care of.
Also, in some cases, there may be biohazards involved, where proper disinfection may be necessary before the spaces become habitable again. It is only professional crime scene cleaners that have the right knowledge to know what protocols to use in order to render such places safe for human occupation again.
How crime scene cleaners work
Crime scene cleaning follows very different protocols and procedures compared to normal cleaning. To have a slight understanding of how all the pieces in crime scene cleaning fall in place, here is a sneak peek into some of the vital components of crime scene cleaning:
As already noted, crime scene cleaning is not your normal type of cleaning, and as such, there is a need for specialized training before anyone can become a proficient crime scene cleaner. As much as there is no single government body that regulates the training for crime scene and biohazard cleaning before you can get work in this field, there is some basic training in blood borne pathogens and chemicals that you must be well-versed in. Additionally, there are state regulations that vary from one state to another which you have to meet before you can be licensed to practice as a crime scene cleaner.
Personal Protective Equipment
All technicians involved in crime scene cleaning must have the right personal protective equipment while at work. Some of the mandatory PPE for a typical crime scene cleaning assignment include respiratory gear, a double layer of gloves, and biohazard suits.
Specialized cleaning equipment and products
Professionals in this industry also use specialized products to safely carry out their cleaning processes. For example, in addition to ordinary cleaning detergents, a crime scene cleaner may need some type of special solvents for dissolving any blood stains on the surfaces. Such solvents are designed to re-liquefy the dried blood stains and also disinfect them. The cleaners will also need hazmat bags for properly holding and containing all the biohazard materials. Also, to deal with lingering smells or odors, professional crime scene cleaners may use industrial-grade deodorizers to disperse such smells and leave the places clean and smelling fresh.
When the technicians show up for a crime scene cleanup exercise, they will start by establishing three zones – a clean zone, a buffer zone, and a control zone. The zoning is usually done using plastic sheeting and bio tapes. The role of the zones is to simply separate the contaminated areas from other parts of the building so that the technicians can focus their efforts on the affected areas without the risk of contaminating the rest of the places.
Irrespective of the nature of the crime scene cleanup, disinfection is a vital component that must be done after the place is thoroughly cleaned. Once the affected area is thoroughly cleaned, the technicians will then test the surfaces to see if there are any living organisms that may have survived the cleaning detergents. Once the cleaning is over, the technicians will then disinfect the area and ensure that the ATP levels stand at 0 before wrapping up the cleaning process.
Proper disposal of all biohazard materials
A crime scene cleaning exercise will not be complete without the proper disposal of every biohazardous material present on the scene. These may include carpets, rags or clothes soaked in blood, and furniture with blood stains among others. Such must be disposed of properly, and that is the work of the crime scene cleaning crew.
Desirable qualities in a crime scene cleaning technician
To be successful in crime scene cleaning, you will need more than just training and experience. Owing to the uniqueness of this profession, there are certain qualities that will make you not just effective, but also endearing to the clients and authorities you will be serving. They include the following:
Compassion – as a crime scene cleaner, you will encounter a variety of tragic circumstances. Most of the time, you will have to empathize with the families, hence, being compassionate is a great attribute of a crime scene cleaner.
Integrity – you will probably be cleaning people’s businesses and homes where they will have their property kept. Integrity is another attribute you need to have since your clients will be trusting you with their premises and property therein as you go about the cleaning.
Attention to detail – crime scene cleanup, if not done the proper way, may result in several health risks. As a cleaner, you must be keen to follow all the recommended protocols and be very thorough during the cleaning process.