Professional crime scene cleanup teams are often referred to as ‘secondary responders’ for a very obvious reason—the bulk of their work happens after police, medical services, and coroners respond to a crime scene. However, crime scene cleanup is no simple endeavor, and the work involved is just as important for maintaining health and safety within the community. At ZBM, Inc., we’re a commercial cleaning company that also specializes in remediating crime scenes. If you’ve ever wondered what exactly happens during a crime scene cleanup, here’s what you should know.
The Crime Scene Cleanup Process
Assessing and Securing the Crime Scene
Before any cleanup work begins, the crime scene must be assessed by the appropriate law enforcement and medical teams. This part of the process is when detectives find and collect all the necessary evidence related to the crime, as well as take important witness statements and photographs of the scene. Investigating a crime scene is an especially time-sensitive task, as any difference in minutes or hours can make or break evidence in a case.
Approval to Begin Cleanup Work
Once all the important evidence has been secured and the crime scene is approved for cleanup by the regulatory organizations involved, a professional crime scene cleanup team will be called to remediate the property to its pre-incident condition as well as dispose of any damaged items or biohazard waste.
Preparing the Necessary PPE, Supplies, and Equipment
Before the crime scene cleanup arrives, they must prepare all the important personal protective clothing and gear, as well as the industry-grade supplies required for the cleaning job.
- PPE – Crime scene cleaners typically use protective hazmat suits, secure face masks, disposable non-porous gloves, and chemical-resistant boots. In some cases, full head-to-toe Level A protection may be required.
- Cleaning Supplies & Equipment – Although the required cleaning supplies and equipment largely depend on the size and complexity of the crime scene, they typically include biohazard disposal bins or containers, plastic sheeting, bio tape, industry-grade cleaning agents and solvents, and ATP meters which are typically used in food safety and biohazard cleaning applications.
Documentation Before and After Cleanup
Cleaning up a crime scene is a highly sensitive task, which is why it’s crucial to establish proper documentation before and after the cleaning job. In a professional crime scene cleanup, photos are usually taken before and after cleanup for both insurance and legal purposes.
Remediation of Property and Disposal of Biohazard Waste or Damaged Items
When the crime scene cleanup begins, the professional cleaning team will first dispose of any items affected or permanently damaged by the crime. This might include removing carpets, mattresses, furniture, or flooring materials that may have been stained by blood or soiled by human or animal remains. These items cannot simply be “thrown away” in a dumpster. Instead, they must be securely wrapped and sent to a hazardous waste processing facility, where infected materials are incinerated.
After all the biohazard waste is removed, the cleaning team will then work to sanitize and purify all surfaces of the scene to their original state, including eliminating any foul odors.
Types of Crime Scene Cleanup Services
Because there are several types of crime scenes, there are also different kinds of crime scene cleanup services that can be requested. Here are a few examples:
Because there are bloodborne pathogens that can pose serious health and safety risks for anyone exposed to them, it is recommended that any blood residue, stains, or messes are always cleaned with the appropriate methods and cleaning solutions.
In some cases, while crime scene cleanup teams are not responsible for the removal of bodies, the work can require cleaning up after any decomposed debris from remains that were leftover from the incident.
As mentioned, biohazards cannot simply be disposed of in regular trash bins as they can pose serious health and safety risks. Removing hazardous substances can include anything from blood, bodily fluids, harmful pathogens, as well as any materials contaminated by these.
Crime scene cleanup teams use specialized equipment that destroys airborne bacteria that carry foul odors from blood, decomposition, chemicals, smoke, or burnt materials.
Infection and Disease Control
A critical part of crime scene cleanup involves strict adherence to controlling the spread of infections or diseases as a result of hazardous waste or substances. Hiring a professional cleaning company ensures that the property is safe for any new or existing occupants.
Tear Gas Removal
Tear gas remediation involves carefully eliminating any tear gas residue resulting from the incident. Law enforcement will often use tear gas as a method to control a dangerous situation, specifically to disable and irritate the perpetrator’s sight, breathing, and skin. What is left behind is a toxic substance that can cause a number of respiratory and allergic issues, as well as chemical burns on the skin, if not cleaned properly.
Fingerprint Dust Removal
Fingerprint dust is a necessary part of a forensic investigation. However, attempting to clean fingerprint dust without the proper cleanup services can spread unnecessary dark stains on property surfaces that could be difficult to remove. Because fingerprint dust is made of very fine particles of a special black granite powder, it requires professional remediation services to be removed.
How Long Does a Crime Scene Cleanup Take?
The length of time it takes for a crime scene cleanup to be completed depends on several factors relating to the scope of the work. These factors can include the size of the crime scene, the type of damage to the property, the presence of any obstructions or debris, the severity of odors, or the amount of hazardous waste to remove. A crime scene cleanup can take anywhere from a day to several days or even weeks. However, this is to ensure safe conditions for the next or remaining occupants of the property.
Dependable Crime Scene Cleanup Services in Watertown, WI
ZBM, Inc. is a certified full-service commercial cleaning company you can rely on for any crime scene cleanup in Watertown, WI. We’re a fully licensed, insured, and bonded company that has served the Jefferson and Dodge County areas for many years. While we typically specialize in office and building cleaning and maintenance services, we also provide disaster recovery services that include:
- Mitigation services;
- Crime scene cleanup services;
- Biohazard cleaning;
- Pack-out services;
- Personal property cleaning;
- Home or business remediation services, and more.