Trauma Cleaning – More than Meets the Eye

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Home cleaning and house clearance services are often a bit of an intense experience. Here at Environmental Property Clearance we deal with lots of emotionally sensitive situations, such as clearances of a deceased relatives home. However, these are not the most intensive jobs that cleaning companies face…

This is where trauma cleaning comes in. This is a branch of house clearance that deals with situations that arise through trauma in someone’s life. They prove to be incredibly challenging for everyone involved. Environmental Property Clearance have an experienced team of trauma cleaners, ready for any job – even the challenging ones. So what makes this such a challenge?

What is Trauma Cleaning?

Trauma cleaning services can be used in any situation when a property needs cleaning after a traumatic event. The main perception of a trauma cleaner’s job is that they clean crime scenes. What many don’t know is that we also deal with many living clients too. It doesn’t have to be a traumatic criminal event but a situation created by trauma in general.

Trauma cleaning is a form of extreme cleaning services which focuses on the mess created by traumatic events. It focuses on waste disposal and deep cleaning, as well as getting rid of the potentially hazardous materials left behind such as body fluids – blood, urine, faeces, bile. Once we’ve completed this process, the space will be safe to live in again, eliminating opportunity for bacterial growth and the spread of infection.

Types of Trauma Cleaning

There are a number of different types of trauma cleaning services. These typically include circumstances such as:

  • Suicide or homicide
  • Unattended deaths
  • Blood spills
  • Biohazard waste
  • Industrial accidents
  • Tear gas removal
  • Hoarding
  • Fire / flood restoration

The most well known type of service is crime and trauma scenes. These kinds of crime scenes, suicide scenes and natural deaths produce foul malodours, dangerous airborne pathogens and hazardous fluids that can be very harmful to anyone within the proximity.

Accidents are another cause for a trauma cleaning team to be called out. This can be a simple accident at home which results in death or something which requires more extreme cleaning solutions such as dealing with sewage infesting a home. The biohazard waste; such as bodily fluids, blood, and faeces are usually always found at the scene of the accident. This could be within the workplace, at home, a road traffic accident or an industrial accident.

Finally, there are compulsive hoarding cases. Compulsive hoarding is a disorder where the person excessively acquires objects and possesses an inability or unwillingness to discard them. These start to cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment. This uncleanliness eventually results in the build up of hazardous waste.

Crime and Trauma Scenes – What You Need to Know

The last thing we want to think about is situations where we are affected by crime, let alone how that would impact your home. At a time of great distress, it may surprise you to learn that the clean up of a crime scene is the responsibility of the property owner. Or, if the property owner is deceased, then the responsibility falls to the next of kin.

It’s a common misconception that the organisation and cost of cleaning a crime scene falls to the emergency services – usually the police. But this isn’t the case. Business owners and landlords are responsible for the organisation and costs for crime scene cleaning on any commercial and/or rented premises, whether domestic or trade, while homeowners or the next of kin are responsible for domestic properties.

Crime and Trauma Scenes – What Gets Done

So what exactly goes into crime scene cleanups conducted by crime scene cleaners?

  • Decontamination
  • Removal of insect infestation
  • Tracing and removal of bodily fluids

The focus first and foremost is getting rid of all health hazards and hazardous materials from the home to prevent the spread of bacteria and reduce the risk of infection.

Once a body has been left to start decaying in a home, it acts as a poison to everything around it, so extra care needs to be taken. These materials can include blood and bodily fluids. Crime scene cleaning services need to ensure that safety, strict legislation and guidelines are in place surrounding their cleaning, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of anyone who uses the building or area.

Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV are all serious risks at crime and trauma scenes. Since they are transferred via bodily fluids, extreme care, caution, knowledge and equipment is essential when attempting to clean an area affected by trauma. There is a special emphasis placed upon preventing cross contamination as well, to prevent spread.

Compulsive Hoarding – What You Need to Know

The complicated part of this is that the homeowner is usually still alive and has a say in the process. This means the cleaning service has to be delicate and understanding, as hoarding is a mental illness. Many of those affected find it hard to disassociate themselves with the items in their house, resulting in nothing being thrown away, which can cause very distressing scenes when entering the property.  

Often it will be a family attempting an intervention and approach a cleaning service for help. Using a professional house clearance company makes the process much easier and more efficient for all involved. Compulsive hoarders often come to terms with the condition by dealing with a professional company with experienced, co-operative and sympathetic staff.

Compulsive Hoarding – What Gets Done

So what is the approach a professional trauma clearance company will take when it comes to dealing with compulsive hoarding cases? The fundamentals stay the same as crime scene clearances:

  • Clear the home of hazardous waste
  • Clean the home thoroughly
  • Ensure it is removed safely
  • Make the house hospitable again

This waste can range from faeces (human and animal), sharps, drug paraphernalia, insect and rodent infestation, rotting food and bodily fluids. Often, people living with this condition live in filth. So it may prove impossible to remove the odour and contamination to the untrained professional.

Compulsive hoarding clean-ups should not be treated as a normal clean. Often, there is more accumulated junk and nasty surprises under the mounds of rubbish. Extra care needs to be taken in case of cross-contamination.

How Can Environmental Property Clearance Help?

We understand that trauma clearance can sometimes be difficult, so we handle every situation with care. We have vast experience with all forms of home clearance. Our experienced staff are trained in all the appropriate areas, including mental health support for those involved with hoarding and are in possession of all the house clearance certificates. We provide commercial clearances alongside these more intensive trauma clearances. Get in touch today.

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