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  • The flashing red and blue lights highlight  the tears on the girlfriend's cheeks as she  

  • sobs to a cop that her sweetheart was a good  man. A nosey neighbor lingers on the sidewalk  

  • nearby, under the guise of walking her dog. The handsome, yet cynical detective trades quips  

  • with the medical examiner as she crouches over  the vic and bags evidence. Shortly afterwards,  

  • the clever detective quickly solves the case and  the world returns to normal. Well, that's what  

  • many TV crime shows would have you believe what  happens. Rarely if ever, do they show the horrific  

  • moment after the authorities have departed  and the shattered family is left standing in a  

  • living room covered in blood and other gruesome  reminders of their loved one's violent death

  • Today we're celebrating some  unsung heroes of society--Crime  

  • Scene Cleaners. These strong stomached men and  women both physically and figuratively clean up  

  • society. Their job is labor intensive, grosshazardous and sometimes emotionally fraught

  • Crime scene cleanup has become a catch all phrase  for biohazard remediation or CTS decon – [crime  

  • and trauma scene decontamination]. Actually many  of the scenarios dealt with aren't caused by  

  • crime. Crime scene cleaning companies generally  tackle homicides and violent crimes as well as  

  • suicides, and decomposition after unattended  deaths. Often they also handle clean ups for  

  • meth labs, hoarding, animal infestation and  industrial accidents such as chemical spills

  • More recently, some crime scene cleaning  companies have added Covid compliance  

  • consultation and disease disinfection to  their rooster of services. Quite a few  

  • companies offer full service rehabilitation  meaning that on top of cleaning, they perform  

  • pest extermination and do reconstruction  such as painting or replacing flooring

  • Often crime scene techs are on call 24/7. Part  of the service is moving quickly and discreetly  

  • as possible; not only can the hazardous  site pose a danger, but a rapid turnaround  

  • can be helpful to the client's peace of mind. While each crime scene is unique, the cleaning  

  • process is not. There's generally about 10 steps: Estimate - A tech assesses the site and provides  

  • the client with an estimate. Cost factors include  how extensive cleanup is and how much waste the  

  • crime scene company will have to dispose of. Suit up - Before getting started, the cleaners'  

  • first task is to don single use PPE including  biohazard suits, respiratory masks, and shoe  

  • coverings for their safety. The body fluids found  at a cleanup scene can carry bloodborne pathogens,  

  • including MRSA, HIV, hepatitis B and C. Documentation - 'Before' pictures are taken  

  • to document the cleaning for the client. Alsothe crime scene is broken down into cleaning  

  • zones to prevent cross contamination. Removal of biohazards - Items unable  

  • to be cleaned are disposed of in biohazard  waste containers. Depending on the item,  

  • it might need to be broken down to make removal  easier such as a mattress or even drywall

  • Disinfect and removalSalvageable items are cleaned,  

  • disinfected and removed from the cleanup siteOnce cleanup is complete, they'll be put back

  • Clean Up - Floors, ceilings and walls are  checked for organic material and carefully  

  • cleaned, disinfected and deodorized. Final check - Techs carefully check  

  • over the cleaned site to make sure they've  removed every speck of biological matter

  • Breakdown - Cleaning tools are removed and  discarded as hazardous waste as appropriate.  

  • The techs strip off their PPE and discard  it in the biohazard containers too

  • Staging - Disinfected items are returned  to the site. 'After' pictures are taken

  • Disposal - Waste and hazardous materials are  transported and disposed of according to local  

  • law. Generally hazardous material is sent  to a medical-waste incinerator for burning  

  • while other waste is hauled to the dump. Depending on how complex the site is,  

  • the cleanup process may take anywhere  from a few hours to 2 or 3 days.  

  • A site where the deceased was found several days  after death may have leaked copious amounts of  

  • body fluids requiring 3 full days of cleanup. Every now and again, cleaners come across a  

  • suspicious object which could be potential  evidence. At that moment, the clean up  

  • work is halted and the appropriate authorities  return to the crime scene to collect said item

  • Let's see this in action. Back  to the scenario of our TV show.  

  • Per the family's request the dtc cleaning  company generates an estimate. In this case,  

  • it's a relatively straightforward jobcontamination is limited to one room,  

  • the vic was shot while sitting in  his favorite armchair watching TV

  • The vic's family signs off on the contract. Two  cleaners will restore the living room within  

  • 8 hours for a few thousand. The techs suit uptake pictures and establish 3 containment zones.  

  • Then with box cutters and an electric saw the  cleaners break down the armchair the vic died in.  

  • Bloodied pieces of chair go in the biohazard  containers. The rest of the chair is slated  

  • for the dump. They also cut up the blood soaked  rug that was under the chair. Only a little blood  

  • soaked thru the rug to the wood floor underneathJust in case, the cleaners pry up one of the  

  • wooden floor slats to make sure the blood didn't  soak through the floor; luckily it didn't. The  

  • cleaners also remove a blood splattered couch  as well as pillows, tv remote and magazines

  • The glass coffee table, some framed pictures  and any other salvageable furniture items  

  • are cleaned and disinfected with industrial  strength solutions, before being moved outside

  • Now the cleaners are ready to tackle the room  itself. They use an enzyme solvent to rehydrate  

  • dried blood splatter on the walls before scrubbing  it away and disinfecting. Some brain matter  

  • also made it onto the wall. Brain hardens and  becomes cement like when dry--the cleaners use a  

  • proprietary solvent to loosen the brain matterThen they scrape it away with putty knives

  • When they're done cleaning and disinfecting the  room, they carefully check it using alternative  

  • light sources which can detect body fluids. To  deodorize the space, techs employ an ozone machine  

  • and hydroxyl generatorswhich use concentrated  UV light to target and destroy pollutants

  • Finally the tech discards any dirtied cleaning  supplies in the biohazard containers, including  

  • the PPE they were wearing. Hazardous waste and  trash are disposed of in adherence of local laws

  • Do you think you could do this jobWhile OSHA [Occupational Safety  

  • and Health Administration] governs some  aspects of being a crime scene cleaner,  

  • the job doesn't require a degree or certificationeach company trains their own employees

  • Qualifications companies look for include  a strong stomach, attention to detail,  

  • good organization skills and good personal skillsSome companies require a psychology test before  

  • training to make sure potential employees are up  to the job. Others administer a 'gross' test which  

  • might involve graphic photos or handling animal  parts to make sure candidates can do the job

  • Training includes learning proper use of PPEsafety procedures regarding the handling of bodily  

  • fluids, safe and legal transport and discarding  of dangerous waste. Some companies even provide  

  • training on how to compassionately deal with  clients, who are often upset or emotional. At the  

  • end of training some companies stage crime scenes  using pig's blood and other animal parts, the  

  • candidate must clean it up to graduate to a job. The crime cleanup industry tends to suffer rapid  

  • turn over. One company owner thinks that  on average crime scene techs last about  

  • 7 years on the job. Stress, depressionanxiety and nightmares take their toll.  

  • Even the most unfazed employees eventually come  across a situation that deeply bothers them

  • Even wonder how accurate crime  drama TV shows are? Click here  

  • to learn how real life CSI actually solved murders Serial killers are not a modern phenomena and they  

  • aren't always lone wolves either. Check out this  video about America's first serial killer family

The flashing red and blue lights highlight  the tears on the girlfriend's cheeks as she  

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B2 crime scene crime cleaning cleanup scene hazardous

What Do Crime Scene Cleaners Actually Do?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/06
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