Crime scene cleanup is quite essential as it plays a big role in restoring a crime scene area, making it safe and hygienic for habitation. And even though crime scene cleaning is not an industry that is officially regulated, there are several guidelines, restrictions, and regulations that the cleanup staff will have to follow in order to ensure adherence to public safety guidelines. To ensure that the protocols are being followed, biohazards are regulated in part by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK. This means that any company that commits itself to crime scene cleaning will have to be recognised as being capable of undertaking this task as required, and it will be up to the company itself to ensure that their crime scene cleaners are rigorously trained for them to be able to meet the set expectations. As a crime scene cleaner, expect to handle all sorts of situations, which means one has to compose themselves if they are to handle even the most horrific scenes.
Compassion – due to the kind of tragic circumstances crime scene cleaners come across, they should be able to give the affected individuals and families reassurance and support.
Stamina – crime scene cleaning is physically challenging and it requires all the cleaners to put on biohazard suits, respirators, gloves, full facemasks, which means that one would have to be physically fit to take on such a task.
Training – all crime scene cleaners need to be trained extensively, educating them on the use of personal protective equipment, adoption of the best practices, and safety risks such as exposure to blood-borne pathogens.
Integrity – as crime scene cleaners are entrusted to handle clients’ homes and personal property, integrity is a must-have. A background check might be necessary to ascertain this.
Commitment – given that crime cleaners may be called upon even in odd hours, it is important for them to be dedicated to their work and also have flexible availability.
Crime scene cleaners do specialise in sanitising and cleaning vehicles, businesses, and homes after suicides, homicides, industrial accidents plus other traumas while being compassionate to the affected individuals. The main goal of the cleaners is to help the affected individuals by taking on the cleanup burden from them and returning a home that is completely clean and sanitised while at the same time offering as much emotional support as they possibly can.
Crime scene cleaners don’t just clean, but they sanitise the biohazardous area, completely using special cleaning chemicals, and are also able to remediate situations that couldn’t be solved by typical cleaning. For instance:
Special skillset – crime scene cleaning work doesn’t suit just anyone, especially considering the traumatic scenes the cleaners come across, not to mention that they have to comfort all the affected individuals. It needs a lot of training and compassion, and one needs to understand exactly what is required of them.
Harmless vs hazardous – in any crime scene, you may find pieces of human body left behind, ranging from blood splatter to a decomposing body that’s still intact. This is of course considered to be biohazardous. Experienced crime scene cleaners should be able to tell the difference between the hazardous materials and harmless materials – as they are quite a lot in that particular scene. So, all the biohazardous materials should be cleaned, contained, and disposed of safely without putting any life at risk.
Protective gear is a must for all the cleaners involved – due to the presence of biohazards on the crime scene, the cleaning professionals are always required to be in protective attire. The fact that danger or diseases can go into a human’s body through anywhere – the nose, skin, mouth, and eyes – it is important for them to cover every part of the body. That way, they will be able to sift through every object in the scene without fear of contamination.
Supplies must be disposed of – in addition to the cleaners’ PPE, all the cleaning supplies used in the restoration of the crime scene should be disposed of safely. Crime scene cleaners are expected to use things like mops, buckets, sponges, brooms, and cloths, which are all used along with peroxide and bleach. They will also come with hazmat bags which they use to carry and dispose of biohazardous materials from the crime scene. And while they are all crucial in restoring the crime scene, it is required that after cleaning, all of them are safely disposed of before they can declare the crime scene biohazard-free, and safe for use or habitation.
A bio-recovery technician certification is also crucial – even though it is not a regulatory requirement, it is imperative for crime scene cleaning companies to have their employees take a bio-recovery technician certificate from organisations such as the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). It is through this program that the employees get to learn everything that they need to know about crime scene cleanup, from professional etiquette to industry standards, cleaning techniques, and proper disposal methods. This way, whenever they take on a crime scene cleaning task, they will have the capability to guarantee the overall success of the cleanup.