Clean up was usually done by the family of the victim or the local police authority. But nowadays, there are professionals specialized in crime scene cleanup jobs, who are hired to do the task. These professionals have to approach the crime scene with care; especially if any evidence is found, they should know how to preserve the same.
A crime scene is a place, where a crime has been committed, resulting in death or a fatally wounded victim. Crime scene cleaners work in messy environment that consists of blood and other fluids, along with body remains.
These professionals not only eliminate and dispose off hazardous waste, but also carry out restoration services. They also deal with bio-loads, which are microbes present in the environment dispersed after the crime, which need to be cleaned through stringent procedures.
They are not permitted to handle the dead in any way, nor are they allowed to be involved in the investigation, or any legal process. They have to deal with blood and human remains with a detached frame of mind, but still be sensitive towards the family of the victim.
They have to undergo a blood pathogen training to qualify as cleaners. They also have to adhere to OSHA guidelines, while working. They require a special permit or a practicing license that authorizes them to remove, pack, and dispose off bio-hazardous waste.
According to US Federal regulations, all body fluids including blood, tissue, or body remains found at a crime scene are considered as a source of infection and are deemed as bio-hazards.
Crime scene cleanup jobs are also known as CTS Decon (Crime and Trauma Scene Decontamination), which involves decontaminating crime scenes. The types of jobs that are performed by the cleanup companies are:
- Blood cleanup
- Specialty cleaning
- Crime scene cleanup
- Decontamination services
- Bio-hazard cleaning
- Medical waste disposal
A supervisor or a leader from the crew makes an assessment of the scene, taking into account the full extent of the cleaning. Thorough cleaning of the room needs to be undertaken which includes the furniture, the walls, and even the ceiling, along with any other object found in the vicinity of the scene.
At times, they have to even go to the extent of scraping the skull to remove brain fragments, and disinfect blood-spattered areas. This job requires an ability to withstand emotionally grueling conditions, arising out of handling blood, bodily fluids, and other human remains.
Equipment and Compensation
Crime scene cleaners use protective gear consisting of a whole body bio-hazard suit that covers every part of their body, and a respirator to avoid infection by pathogens or bio-hazardous materials found at every crime scene.
They use heavy-duty plastic bags to collect this material and also have cleaning equipment like mops and sponges, disinfectants, ionizer, etc. They carry restoration tools which include sledgehammers, saws, spackle, paint brushes, cameras for video shooting the crime scene before and after the cleanup job, and transportation for disposing off the waste.
These professionals are paid a descent salary. According to the 'Bureau of Labor Statistics' the median salary in 2017 was $41,400 annually and $19.91 on hourly basis. However, it may vary according to the nature of crime scene and the amount of work.
These professionals are well-paid; however, the working conditions deter people from choosing it as a career. The grotesqueness found at every crime scene is not a very comfortable situation that most would like to find themselves in. So, anyone who is considering a crime scene cleanup job should think twice before taking it up.