Trauma Cleaning, Far from Glamorous
Without doubt, one of the most challenging aspects of Ideal Response’s workload, is trauma cleaning. Murders, suicides, sudden deaths, undetected deaths are sadly, something that we are regularly asked to help with. Recent programmes like Spotless on Netflix have glamorised the crime scene cleaning industry. Let’s dig a little deeper to take a real-life glimpse into crime scene cleaning. Despite years of experience, nothing can quite prepare our technicians for arrival on site, and the effects that trauma incidents have on their surroundings. The fact remains, most people will never suffer the experience of discovering a traumatic death. For those who do, the stress is immense; it is our job to do everything we can to make the situation easier.
What Happens After a Traumatic Incident?
A traumatic incident is shocking and unplanned, each one is unique. The devastation caused has far reaching effects to property, belongings and to the individuals involved. It might surprise you to know that to add to the shock of a sudden or unexpected death of a friend or relative, the responsibility of cleaning up lies with those closest to the victim. The police and other emergency services attend to their duties but the clean-up is definitely not within their remit. At a time when stress and anxiety are high, the unpleasantness is compounded by being faced with the prospect of cleaning the blood and bodily fluids of someone close to us.
What is involved in trauma clean-up?
If a crime scene investigation is necessary, the scene must remain untouched until that is complete. Bodily fluids will spread and become absorbed in fabrics and other absorbent surfaces at the scene. Crucially, the priority is decontamination; bodily fluids carry pathogens and present a high risk of infection. The presence of bodily fluids risks further infestation of opportunistic organisms and microorganisms. Our job as trauma cleaning technicians is multi-faceted, the central role of cleaning and decontamination is carried out using the most effective equipment and techniques available, combined with experience. We aim to reduce the time taken to clean to a minimum. We pride ourselves in a holistic approach to all of our trauma cleaning, it can make a massive difference to those involved. Professionalism in these circumstances needs to include empathy, kindness and understanding.
Cleaning up an Undetected Death
Often an undetected death involves an individual who has hoarded possessions, usually because of mental illness. The embarrassment that accompanies the condition means that visitors to the home are infrequent. The clean-up process in these circumstances is extremely challenging, fluids will infiltrate many materials. Items of value need to be identified and dealt with separately, waste items need to be disposed of appropriately. Technicians need to wear appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to prevent infection. The bodily fluids released after death need to be completely removed and every affected item either decontaminated or disposed of if unsalvageable. Ideal Response are licensed waste carriers, this is vital when dealing with contaminated waste.
Suicide and Murder
In the case of suicides or murder, the circumstances are extremely distressing for friends and family. Blood may have been propelled into fabrics and materials, every drop must be detected and decontaminated. For the victim’s relatives, it is a time of grief and shock, it is difficult to think clearly and make decisions. Our role is to carry out a clean and decontamination with the greatest efficiency with consideration of the impact of the situation on them. A professional and empathetic approach will ease the stress and make a difference to the whole experience.
How do Technicians Cope?
Trauma clean-up technicians never become hardened or immune to the circumstances they deal with. The best technicians develop an ability to view each individual case with compassion and professionalism, and hopefully a degree of detachment from the circumstances that led to it. Our job is to clear, clean and decontaminate but work like this demands so much more. Ultimately part of the satisfaction we feel is from knowing how we have made a difficult situation so much easier for so many people.
We recognise that our trauma clean-up service is extremely valuable and take pride in the quality of the service we provide. Hopefully, you will never be involved in circumstances such as this, if the worst happens, Ideal response are there to help.