695 homicides occurred in England and Wales in 2019 and 2020. That's roughly one every 12 hours and doesn't count deaths and injury caused accidentally by other criminal activity.
Many violent crimes leave behind a trauma scene. Trauma scenes may seem harmless, but they are laden with dangers and difficulty.
What are the dangers of cleaning a crime scene yourself? What specialist cleaning solutions are available? What makes a particular team of trauma cleaning specialists right for the job?
Here is your comprehensive guide.
Specialist Cleaning Solutions
The police will take any human remains, weapons, and other pieces of evidence from the scene. They will not clean up or remove anything they do not need for their investigation. If a crime takes place on your property, it is up to you to find someone who will clean the scene up. Homeowners, landlords and business owners are obligated to cover the costs of all forensic cleaning on their land.
Ultimately, most crime scenes are decontaminated and sanitised by private companies or forensic cleaners, hired by the company or owner of the land the crime occurred on.
Crime scene cleaners can take care of all of the risks of a crime scene. But not all cleaners work alike. You should find trauma scene cleaning services that offer the right solutions for your needs.
Professional and Compassionate
Regardless of who was involved, witnessing the aftermath of a crime scene can be upsetting or even traumatic. It can feel like a strange and chaotic time, so it's vital to hire cleaners who are organised, professional, and sensitive to the nature of the job.
Especially when inviting cleaners onto private property, it's also important to hire trustworthy cleaners who can be discrete and respectful of their surroundings.
This can help you to get the immediate practicalities dealt with quickly and efficiently, so there's more time to take care of any emotional needs or long-term complications.
Cleaning the Scene
The best crime scene cleaners will arrive on the scene as soon as possible. A company may send an inspector who will evaluate the scene and understand what needs to be done.
A team of cleaners will then arrive. The cleaners will be dressed in protective clothing, including face coverings so they don't inhale any pathogens in the air.
They will close the scene off. If the trauma scene is inside a house, they may seal off the house so they can do a deep clean. But they may allow you to go to another room and take some items that you need.
The cleaners can start by removing biohazard substances, including blood, faeces, and urine. They will then apply broad-spectrum disinfectant products to your surfaces, which can kill viruses and bacteria at once.
They let the disinfectant soak on objects so it can seep inside and kill pathogens in them. If blood or mucus has soaked all the way through a material, the cleaners may remove it from the scene. They will remove broken glass, pieces of furniture, and other objects as well.
A cleanup can take hours, if not days. Cleaners will talk to you and give you updates on how things are going. They can take photographs of the damage and keep records for you so you can get compensation from your insurer. They will also dispose of any potentially hazardous material in a safe, legal way.
It's important that anyone cleaning a crime scene is qualified to do so. This is both for safety and legal reasons. The repercussions of dealing inappropriately with biohazards or leaving behind dangerous material can be significant for the cleaning team and whoever is expected to use the area going forward.
It is also important that those dealing with a crime scene know what to expect and have been trained to understand their role, as cleaning a trauma scene can be psychologically as well as technically difficult.
It is always worth asking the company to show their qualifications as well as checking that they have a Waste Carriers Licence to remove any biohazards and dispose of them correctly.
The Dangers of Trauma Scenes
Some people decline to hire trauma scene cleaners because they assume they can clean up the scene themselves.
But trauma scenes pose more risks than blood stains on your carpet. In order to understand professional cleaners, you have to understand the risks of trauma scenes.
Bloodborne diseases include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. 81,000 people in England live with hepatitis C, and some people don't know they have it.
Touching blood with intact skin will not give you an infection. However, scratches or an abrasion on a cleaner's skin may allow a virus or bacterium can slip through it into their body. This is one of the reasons why it is always important for cleaners to wear appropriate protective gear when cleaning a crime scene.
Faeces and Urine
Faeces and urine both contain significant pathogens. Someone can have Salmonella, E. coli, and Cryptosporidium in their faeces. E. coli infections have been on the rise in the United Kingdom, with more than 170,000 cases occurring between 2013 and 2018.
Some bacteria and viral spores can live on a surface or inside material for weeks. Scrubbing the surfaces in the area may not kill all pathogens. Urine can also contain E. coli. Viral spores from faeces and urine can spread into the air, posing another risk if you don't have protection.
Besides the risks that a body can cause, the crime scene itself can have dangers. Glass may be broken on the ground. You can trip over a piece of broken furniture or a broken tile.
The police may not take everything with them, and they may not clean the materials they used to investigate the crime scene. You may notice disposable gloves, crime scene tape, and powder the police used to check for fingerprints. These items may have germs on them, and they can be a nuisance to clean up.
How to Find Trauma Scene Cleaners
You should not hire the first trauma scene cleaners you come across. You should take a little time to assess the situation and hire the right company for you.
Take Care of Yourself
Witnessing a trauma scene is extremely difficult. Before you take care of the scene, you need to take care of yourself.
Call the authorities, tell them what you've found, and then step away from the scene. You can stay nearby, but you should go to a safe place where others can find you.
You can talk to the police if you feel comfortable doing so. Whether or not you talk to the police, you should talk to a psychiatrist or a crisis counsellor. You can call a helpline, or you can go and visit someone in person.
While your cleanup is going on, you should stay in touch with friends and family. Get as much support as you can and go to others for help if you're not receiving support.
It is okay to speak to a counsellor months or years after you encounter a trauma scene. It takes time to process a traumatic event and get the full help you need.
Read Customer Reviews
When you're ready to get help with cleaning the scene, you should start reading customer reviews. The reviews that a company lists on its website may be biased or cherry-picked. You should visit a third-party website like Yelp.
Do not just look at the most helpful reviews or five-star reviews. Take a look at a range of reviews and assess what the strengths and weaknesses of the company are.
In particular, you should figure out what the customer service of the company is like. You should try to find a company with a history of showing respect and compassion while managing the crime scene.
Compare a Few Companies to Each Other
Once you've read the customer reviews of different companies, you should create a shortlist of a few companies. You should then give each one a call.
Explain the situation to them and ask them questions about their services. Ask them what their process is and how they operate. You should hire the company that gives you the clearest answers. Also, it can be useful to ask them about payment options as trauma clean up services can be costly due to the increased risk and some companies offer great payment options or split payments to make it financially easier.
You can look at the rates for different companies. But don't just look at how many pounds a service costs. You should examine what you get for your money, such as replacements for materials the cleaners have to remove.
Dealing With Trauma Scenes
You should never clean trauma scenes yourself. Touching blood, faeces, and urine can give you a serious viral or bacterial infection. You also risk injuring yourself while cleaning the scene.
Specialist cleaning solutions will eliminate all threats. Do some research online and come up with questions you can ask different companies.
But know that you are never far from help. A Cleaning Service provides premium crime scene cleanup solutions. Contact us today.