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How Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup Companies Help Communities Heal through what they provide, Care, Compassion, and Peace of Mind.

From The Life of a Death Scene Cleaner.

Written by Don M. McNulty — © copyright 2024. All rights reserved.

Suicide produces one of the loneliest times for everyone involved with the person who took their own life. No one wants to discuss the death in those terms.

Suicide, even to this day, seems to carry a sigma of shame with it. Those living feel shame even though they were not the ones who committed suicide. So, once I thought about it, I wondered where the shame came from?

I believe our moral and spiritual beliefs contribute to the shame associated with suicide, as society views it as a sin. Some individuals perceive suicide as a mental illness that can run in families, like certain other types of mental illnesses.

But there is no proof of those beliefs, and those left behind should feel nothing other than the same grief they bear with any type of death.

Still, others feel a sense of shame and guilt because they believe they could have done more, said something different, or devised a clever scenario that would instantly dispel any thought of self-harm and answer all the questions leading to the demise of their loved one.

How Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup Companies Help Communities

When someone takes their own life, they obviously are not thinking right. They’re not stopping to think about what they’re leaving behind, relationally, mentally, or physically.

When the police arrived to complete their investigation, making sure this wasn’t a homicide, the process usually takes five to six hours. The police typically inform the family that the cleanup is their responsibility once they decide and hand over the scene.

The responsibility to clean up does not lie with the government but with the property owner, which surprises people. Now, they face the questions of how this gets done and who does it work?

Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup (CTS) companies or some call Biohazard Cleaning now do that job. Many companies nationwide have taken on the physical and emotional burden and liabilities of doing this work. The good news is they are usually a short distance away, and property insurance usually pays for this work. The insurance providers treat this similarly to fire and storm damage.

We help the community heal through what we provide. Our company’s culture sets us apart from everyone else in that we believe first and foremost we provide Care, Compassion, and Peace of Mind, through our work.

When our companies didn’t exist, families and business owners would be left to beg, borrow, or steal anyone they could to help with the cleanup. Our motto is, “No One Should be Victimized Twice.” The last thing a person wants is to be the one to clean up a trauma death scene from a loved one. We wouldn’t — if it were us.

Many times, there is always this nagging question given to us as to why someone would take their own life? For many years, I would ask myself the same question. My answer is this: suicide is an irrational act, and you have a rational mind. A rational mind cannot understand an irrational act.

Whatever excuse a victim is using, we can devise a logical counter, but that’s not the problem, and none of that would matter. Have you ever smashed your finger with a hammer or slammed it between a car door? At that moment, where is all your attention? On the hurt finger.

I could put a dancing bear in front of you, and you would not notice because all your attention is focused on the hurt, and you cannot focus elsewhere. Are you beginning to see the true picture? Watch this Awareness test:

I’ve learned a long time ago. It’s not your fault. You couldn’t have said anything to make much of a difference if the victim’s mind can’t see beyond the pain.

Suicide affects the immediate community. I remember one case when a husband, father, and neighbor who lived in a small neighborhood took his own life. This neighborhood was built as a circle of 22 homes with only one street entering and leaving. Almost everyone living there knew their neighbors.

Their kids went to the same schools, played on the same sports team, or attended dance classes together; many attended the same church. Most of those people had lived in the neighborhood for many years, raising their families.

I, with one employee, was called to the job. I spoke to his wife, who was this beautiful but very broken by grief women. In the home, I saw many framed photographs of their family having fun at ball games, backyard bar-b-ques, and the traditional poses as the kids aged.

While loading the truck at the end of my day, a neighbor gave me a waive, and I waived back. He felt I was giving him permission to approach and have a conversation. Normally, I don’t speak with anyone other than who my contact gives me permission to speak with.

He started with, that was quite a mess in there. Not wanting to detail the work, I said, generally, that’s why we were called.

He continued by telling me how bad he felt for his friend. He knew he was struggling but didn’t want to talk about it much, so I rarely asked how he was doing? I saw him this morning, and all I did was waive before I left for work. I should have said something, walked across the street, and had a conversation. He may have opened up to me. But lately, he seemed better.

It’s been my experience; anything you could have said or done would have made a difference. Another thing you might want to know about the reason a person who is contemplating suicide seems better is that he’s arrived at his decision and just waiting for the right time and place.

We spoke a few more sentences and I begged off to finish loading. But when I arrived at my truck, there was yet another neighbor. Before leaving that day, I spoke with three neighbors, all having the same questions. Each one is broken and grieving in their own way.

I did suggest to the last one that he call a meeting before the funeral with a counselor from the local Suicide hotline or a pastor present. This would help them to better understand how to help themselves, their families, and their neighbors cope. Also, how to better offer solace to the man’s grieving widow and children, because these are the conversations that seem the most awkward, so many never approach. When asked why they say, I just didn’t know what to say, it’s different than a normal death.

The physical damage to the structure left behind can be extensive. Because the names of most CTS companies have the word cleaning in their title, people need to understand that although cleaning is part of what we do, we perform what I call deconstruction, which is the other part.

We don’t call it demolition since we remove structure in a precise way. We are not taking sledgehammers into a space and knocking out walls like we were remodeling an area. We set up safety zones and construct negative air chambers and use HEPA Vacuums to contain and capture contamination during the remediation process. Our technicians dress in Level 3 PPE and double glove for protection according to OSHA Regulations.

The work is more like peeling an onion. We carefully remove the top layer, and if we find further damage, we remove the second and third until all biohazards have been removed or contained.

Over the years, we have developed procedures and processes that allow us to remove the damage which allows the build-back crew to have an easier job replacing what was removed.

If supporting structures are affected, our technicians are trained in construction methods. Hence, they know how to safely perform any task necessary. We also know when it may be necessary to call in a Class A Contractor or Architect Engineer when we’ve determined we are dealing with a load-bearing wall.

We help heal the communities we serve by knowing our job and what it takes to safely remove biohazards from the structure and bring those areas back to sanitary conditions for handling, use, or disposal.

We further help them heal emotionally by offering the care and compassion they need. We are not there to judge; we are there to serve. Through all these years, we’ve learned that the best gift we can give is two ears to listen when they want to speak and an understanding heart.

We also know they want us to do our job correctly and efficiently and leave as soon as possible to finish the job. I’ll add one more note to finish with. Very few families remain in the home. Many never return except to pack up and move.

But on rare occasions, I hear that friends who were once neighbors have stayed in touch and maintained their close relationships. As an once Pastor and Counselor, I can tell you those have become the most cherished relationships.