Want a Career in Crime Scene Cleaning and Biohazard Remediation
Crime scene cleanup (A.K.A Forensic cleaning) and other biohazard cleanup job might be the answer. However, this is not for the faint of the heart. You will be in situations that are anything but normal.
If you were a janitor or have cleaned your house and think you might do this, think again. On a day-to-day basis, you will be dealing with homicide, mass casualty, fatal accident, infectious disease contamination, hoarding, gross filth and anything that is extreme.
Sounds interesting and excited? At this point, most would say NO and quit. That’s fine, this is not for everyone.
It’s not just about the horrific conditions that you will be working with. There will be depressed souls, families and loved ones going through this problem. You should have a helping heart, have compassion, show empathy, and yet stand professional at your work.
If you are still reading, excellent. You might just have the right temperament, stomach, and everything that this demanding work requires of a biohazard and crime scene cleaner.
What are crime scene cleaner roles and responsibilities?
While crime scene clean up is just a small part of the work, it normally entails detailing with the bloody mess and other potentially infectious materials. It requires a temperament, stamina, courage, and personality to professionally follow a routine, much like that of a surgeon, and clean, decontaminate and sanitize the place.
What are regulatory requirements for this industry and what health and safety requirements should a crime scene cleaner meet?
As mentioned earlier, biohazard and forensic cleaning is an industry in its infancy with respect to regulations in the US.
However, in the US, there are guidelines provided by agencies and the biohazard remediation industry adheres to. Most of the best practice guidelines and protocols are designed, maintained and monitored by governing advisory bodies such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), US Department of Transportation (DOT), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Is biohazard cleaning different than other janitorial jobs and cleaning services?
Yes. It is very different. While one may think it is easy to pick up the mop and bleach and clean the scene, it is complicated, difficult and extremely risky. If you are not properly trained and equipped to handle the extreme cleanup situation, you not only put yourself at peril but countless others who might set their foot in the place of the crime scene, once cleaned.
Blood borne pathogens pose threat. There are countless contagious diseases that can spread like a rapid fire and affect others very badly if the scene is not contained and methodically sanitized.
While movies such as Cleaner and Sunshine Cleaning and other TV shows made crime and trauma scene cleaning a popular topic, scene clean is just a small portion of the work.
Biohazard specialist tackle way more than just the homicide, some of which include unattended death, suicide, accidents, industrial incidents, and cleaning of other traumatic incidents. You will be dealing with blood, bodily fluid, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).
Fire and smoke, water and sewer cleanup, asbestos abatement, lead paint removal, fingerprint dust (powder) removal, raccoon infestation cleaning, foul odor removal, pet odor removal, vehicle decontamination after vomit, urine etc.
It doesn’t stop there. It also handles an array of issues related to and caused by hoarding such as dead animal removal & decontamination, bird & rodent droppings (remember hantavirus), feces, vomit, and body fluid removal, communicable disease infection control and such.
Biohazard cleaning and decontamination specialists constantly help first responders and law enforcements. Some of which are tear gas cleaning, meth lab decontamination, police cruisers cleaning, holding cells decontamination etc.
What are the key traits of a cleaner in biohazard remediation industry?
Know the requirements of a biohazard remediation specialist, some of the main ones are listed below.
I tried to get you all the tough ones above, but here is the good news for you.
Most states in the US don’t require any kind of certification or training. There are no tough requirements or lengthy biohazard cleaning licensing process, so anyone and everyone can become a crime scene cleaner. However, you must be able to wear multiple hats and bring a lot of skills and personality to the work.
Kindness: First and the foremost, you must be empathetic to people. Families that you will be dealing with has just lost a loved one and in a severe shock due to a disaster in the property. You must have compassion, provide support, and hope that things will be back to normal.
Drill: While the law does not mandate to have training or certification, most CTS Decontamination services provide training to avoid risks and improve the quality of work done by crime scene cleaners.
Disaster Aide provides a comprehensive training for all employees initially, including biohazard identification, removal, and decontamination, proper use of personal protective equipment. It also provides training on an as-needed basis to update manager, specialist and technicians and any field staff about changes or improvements in decontamination procedure, equipment, best practices and regulatory guidelines.
Trust: Skill is one part of the puzzle, but personality is whole another. You will be trusted by property managers, business owners and families to walk into their property, with their valuables in.
We take the integrity of the person seriously. Everything else can be taught but you must possess the character. We thoroughly verify the background of all our employees and make it a point to run impromptu drug tests.
Be Meticulous: This is a job where following a military style command is of paramount importance. We constantly engage with industry experts to bring the best practices onboard.
We adhere to a continuous improvement principle, much like the TQM process followed by quality Japanese manufacturers. So, we get the state-of-the-art equipment, cutting-edge methodologies, processes, and procedures and make it a part of the routine.
We require our employees to follow our time-tested and state-of-the-art procedures to a T. If you are not paying attention to details, and missing on any one step, you are putting yourself and everyone in danger.
Dependability: Rain or shine, we should be fine to help victims in need.
This is not a 9 to 5 job; it’s a career.
When Disaster Aide’s phones ring, there are families in despair on the other side. You should understand the seriousness of the situation, have compassion on the call, and be professional and courteous. You should be ready to jump in and happy to help, be it three in the afternoon or two in the morning.
Endurance: You need to possess the strength to withstand a horrific scene.
You will be thrown into a biohazard suit with the extra protective covering all over the body, and stay inside a crime and trauma scene for half an hour on a sunny afternoon with no air conditioner running. To make the situation worse, the smell can be unbearable depending what you are dealing with. Of course, you will have full face mask with respirators so you don’t breath any contaminants.