Who is responsible for cleaning up a bloody murder scenes or other traumatic events that occur in the home? This unfortunate and emotionally devastating task is left up to grieving family members and friends.
That is right ... emergency personnel are not required to clean the aftermath of trauma scenes. The police, the fire department and the crime-scene investigators who arrive at a crime scene perform crucial tasks in the aftermath of a violent death but they do not, as a general rule, clean up.
Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the services of a crime scene cleanup. In this article, I will give you a brief overview of what crime scene cleanup involves and what special knowledge the cleaners need to have.
Crime scene cleanup is a market within the cleaning industry called CTS Decon (crime and trauma scene decontamination), which involves cleaning up dangerous material. This could mean the biologically contaminated scene of a violent death (homicide, suicide or accident) or the chemically contaminated scene of a methamphetamine lab or anthrax exposure site.
When a violent death occurs in a home, the cleaners’ job is to come in and remove any sign of what happened and any biohazards that resulted from such an incident, and to restore the scene to its pre-incident state in accordance with state and federal mandates. Federal regulations deem all bodily fluids to be biohazards, so any blood or tissue at a crime scene is considered a potential source of infection.
There are no national regulations for the CTS Decon industry, but there are organizations that promote standards, as well as certain government regulations that cleaners have to follow, including the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standards, which are guidelines for handling biohazardous material and the proper use of personal protection equipment, and individual state guidelines for crime scene cleanup.
Permits are needed to transport and dispose of biohazardous waste. Companies that clean up crime scenes have all of the necessary permits, training and, perhaps most importantly, willingness to handle material that would send most of us running out the door to throw up in the bushes.
In addition, companies that specialize in removing and cleaning up human waste materials assist families with all of the details associated with this type service. This service also includes helping homeowners file an insurance claim and seek additional state funding to assist with paying for the cleaning services, and to provide deductible forgiveness for those families who are unable to pay the deductible due to financial hardship. They work with the local Red Cross to provide temporary lodging during the cleanup process.
In conclusion, I hope that this article has given you some insight on the importance of getting a crime scene cleanup service. These removal companies provide immediate response to restore homes as quickly as possible so that the family can get back home and can focus on recovering from such a tragic event. Crime does not pay — but the proper cleanup does!
Michael L. Fowler Sr. is the Dougherty County coroner-elect.