February 17, 2022

Cleaning up a Crime Scene in a House

Introduction

When a violent event has occurred inside a house, families, owners, or real estate agents must not only face this terrible event, but they must also be in charge of restoring hygiene and harmony to the place. Today we explain who does this cleaning and what consists of this unique service.   

What Is Forensic Cleaning Service?

Forensic cleaning, or traumatic cleaning as it is known in some places, is a service provided by companies and experts in handling biological material; it removes all traces of a violent death inside the house. In addition to disinfecting the area to meet the necessary hygiene and sanitation conditions to be habitable again. 

There are currently few companies providing this service in California; however, as the demand for this type of work rises, the number of forensic cleaners will gradually increase.

The forensic cleaning service includes eliminating odors, stains, fingerprints, and dust. Then the home is disinfected, and thirdly, the biohazardous items are safely discarded.

The experts in charge of erasing the traces of a crime must handle contaminated materials, so even though there is no law regulation in the State of California, it is prudent that they have knowledge about biochemical materials, possible infections, and the process of decomposition of organic remains. In addition, a brief psychological preparation is suggested so that they are able to see and render their service without being affected by each event and treat family members and owners with the utmost delicacy.

An expert in cleaning up a crime scene in California explains that "We take care of a painful problem for families and the community."

How Is Cleaning Up a Crime Scene?

Entering The Home

When a violent event occurs inside a property, and the police declare it as a crime scene, it means that no one can get in the property, not the owner, tenant, or landlord. Thus, police approval is necessary to determine when to hire a forensic cleaning company.

Inspection of The Affected Area

The process of cleaning up a crime scene begins with an inspection by the company. After observing the space, it decides what to do and what items need to be removed before proceeding with the actual housework.

On many occasions, furniture, decorative objects such as carpets, beds, sofas, curtains, or others are discarded. Sometimes the damage is such that the floors and walls have to be removed and changed for deep cleaning.

Necessary Equipment

To proceed with the cleaning, the experts use insulating suits with zippers and hoods, rubber boots, eye protection, and a mask with a respirator to prevent the spread of infection. Then, they apply bactericidal and germicidal liquids to eliminate pathogens. Finally, they purify the environment with materials such as ozone.

All the elements and materials used during the cleaning up service, such as tissues, gloves, sponges, protective equipment, and the objects removed from the house, such as mattresses, clothes, carpets, and curtains, are transferred to a specialized biological waste disposal site.

How to Select the Ideal Forensic Cleaning Up Company?

If your property has been affected by a violent event and you need a forensic cleaner, there are certain circumstances that you should take into account before hiring.

Classification and Extent of Property Damage

When the clean-up involves handling biohazardous materials such as blood, fluids, or other organic debris, you need a forensic clean-up expert.

In addition, the level of damage to property caused by the violent event must be taken into consideration. This is because it is often necessary to change certain areas of the house, such as the floor, walls, and furniture; in these cases, an experienced home emergency repair company such as FAR is suitable for you.

Handling Items with Sentimental Value

During cleaning up a crime scene, personal items such as photographs, clothing, or bedding may need to be discarded. After the inspection, the person must consult the list of things to be eliminated. In some instances, it is possible to request a deep cleaning of an object instead of its disposal; however, this implies an extra cost to the initial service. 

Hiring and Payment of the Cleaning Service

The cost of this specialized cleaning service is calculated on an hourly basis. Therefore, to reduce costs, hiring local companies that provide the service in your area is highly recommended, which saves on travel expenses.

A frequent doubt of the people is who has to hire and pay for a crime scene cleaning? Well, the answer depends on the person's character over the house. For example, in the case of landlords who have a rented property, they are responsible for paying the service.

Specific policies cover these scenarios for homeowners who have their home insured; however, they should consult their coverage plan.

Licenses and Permits Required for Cleaning up a Crime Scene in California

According to California State law, companies specializing in crime scene cleanup need a permit that qualifies them to handle biohazardous materials. This license is known as a "Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioner”, which is processed through the Department of Public Health's and it Sanitary Waste Management Program. This license must be renewed annually.

Health Regulations

In California, there is no specific law regulating forensic cleaning up companies' work. However, it is highly recommended that they understand Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This Government agency rules on pathogen handling, respiratory hazards, and proper conduct for working in confined spaces to prevent accidents. 

Conclusion

Crime scene cleanup is a specialized service performed by experts in handling biological waste to help return the property to the pre-incident condition. It is a meticulous inspection, assessment, disinfection, disposal, and repair process to ensure optimal hygienic conditions and a professional approach to such a delicate moment.

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