Cleaning up a Crime Scene: 5 Steps of Crime Scene Cleanup
After the police document the scene and paramedics provide emergency services, you have to deal with the aftermath of a crime scene by yourself. Crimes, especially violent crimes, are emotionally taxing. Cleaning up a crime scene is likely too much to handle for most. Even if you feel up to the task, you should always hire a professional crime scene cleanup company to prevent the spread of biohazards.
Why You Should Never Clean Up a Crime Scene on Your Own
Violent crimes are likely to leave the scene contaminated with blood and other organic material. Blood, other bodily fluids, and tissue may be contaminated with a number of hazardous pathogens. Common bloodborne pathogens include MRSA, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), hepatitis B and C, and HIV.
Without taking the proper precautions when cleaning up a crime scene, you can infect yourself. Even after cleanup, there is still a risk that blood and other organic material could infect others if the proper precautions are not taken. For this reason, it’s best to leave crime scene cleanup to trained professionals.
The 5 Steps to Cleaning Up a Crime Scene
While cleaning up a crime scene does vary by situation and amount of damage, most crime scene cleanup procedures will follow these key steps.
First, it’s necessary to assess the crime scene and determine the extent of the damage. Biohazard cleanup contractors identify areas that need cleaning and determine the proper cleanup procedure.
Next, they will create a safety zone around the crime scene. This prevents cross-contamination by keeping contaminated materials from coming in contact with non-contaminated items.
Removing biohazard materials is the most dangerous part of crime scene cleanup. This includes removing organic materials like blood and tissue but also contaminated items like carpeting.
4. Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Deodorizing
Once contaminated materials are removed, the area is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized. The pathway used to remove contaminated materials is also cleaned to eliminate the risk of accidental cross-contamination.
5. Reconstruction and Restoration
After cleaning, the area is rebuilt and restored to its original condition. This may include laying new carpeting, hanging new drywall, and painting.
Supplies and Materials Used in Crime Scene Cleanup
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Crime scene cleaners will wear personal protective equipment to avoid becoming infected. This usually includes biohazard suits, gloves, respiratory masks, and shoe coverings
- ATP Fluorescence Detector – Portable or handheld ATP fluorescence detectors locate organic material, which aids in the cleanup and decontamination process.
- Protective Sheeting – Plastic sheets or tarps are used in creating a safety zone to prevent the spread of contaminants.
- Biohazard Disposal Containers – This may range from plastic bags to hard containers. Disposal containers will likely have the biohazard symbol on them somewhere and are usually red.
- Cleaners, Disinfectants, and Deodorizers – A number of commercial chemicals used in crime scene cleanup and some companies have their own propriety products or blends. Certain chemicals are best at treating specific pathogens.
Common Questions about the Crime Scene Cleanup Process
How Long Does Crime Scene Cleanup Take?
Crime scene cleanup may take a few hours or several days depending on the extent of the contamination.
How Much Does Crime Scene Cleanup Cost?
The cost of crime scene cleanup depends on the extent of the contamination and the amount of restoration required. The national average ranges from $150 to $300 per hour.
Does Insurance Cover Crime Scene Cleanup?
Most policies offered by larger insurers will cover the cost of crime scene cleanup. However, it is best to review your policy or speak to your agent before filing a claim.
Can I Clean Up a Crime Scene Myself?
No, you should never attempt to clean up a crime scene in your own due to the risk of infection. Household cleaners are not effective at killing all pathogens. Always call a qualified crime scene cleaner to properly address the situation.
Can a Regular Cleaning Company Cleanup a Crime Scene?
As with do-it-yourself cleaning, cleaning companies are not equipped to clean up a crime scene. Even with commercial cleaners and disinfectants, they are not training in properly handling and disposing of biohazardous materials.
Is Crime Scene Investigation the Same as Crime Scene Cleanup?
No, crime scene investigation involves the collection of evidence after a crime. Usually, law enforcement officers that specialize in forensics will perform these investigative services.
Professional Crime Scene Cleanup Services
In the wake of a violent crime, Restoration Local offers crime scene cleanup and biohazard remediation services. Our network of crime scene cleaners are trained and experienced in safely removing and disposing of organic materials and contaminated items as a result of a violent crime.
Find a crime scene cleanup and biohazard remediation company near you now or call 1-888-443-3110 to talk with the on-call contractor in your area. Our on-call crime scene cleaners offer 24-hour emergency services and 30-minute response time. Plus, they always offer free, no-obligation estimate on all biohazard remediation services.