Not too many people are aware that crime scene clean-ups are an actual job. It’s certainly a peculiar occupation, one that requires nerves of steel in order to thrive in such a distressing work environment. Only a few people find cleaning puddles of blood and decomposing bodies to be quite interesting. That’s why crime scene cleaners are often the unsung heroes when tragedy occurs because of the nature of their job.
It’s an industry that has seen significant growth over the last few years. Now, everyone is starting to become curious about how crime scene cleaners operate and what makes it such an interesting job for some individuals. Before we get started, it’s important to know when the industry was born.
It was in the early 1990’s when a small number of companies decided to handle biohazards, human tissues, and rotten remains of deceased individuals. At the time, no one was offering crime scene cleanup services and the task of cleaning a dead body was the sole responsibility of the victim’s friends and family. Today, there are over 500 companies who are offering their services to reduce the trauma of such incidents and essentially, do all of the dirty work.
These are all the nitty-gritty aspects of crime scene cleaning and what makes it one of the grimmest jobs ever.
- Crime scene cleaners handle more than just crime scene fatalities.
Despite the job title, people who work in the crime scene cleaning often encounter unnatural deaths like suicides and accidents being the most common situations. Rarely do they encounter police tapes and murder encounters, but it’s certainly a part of their job. They receive more calls from family members and property managers more than the local police department.
- They undergo specialized training sessions.
Being a part of a harrowing industry requires physical skill in handling biohazards, contaminated substances, and pathogens. Crime scene cleaners are trained in a facility where they often deal with pig blood to recreate scenarios of blood spills. They tackle staged crime scenes where the trainees are required to deal with decomposing bodies, foul-smelling odours, and pools of blood.
It takes around four weeks of intensive training before crime scene techs are qualified to go out in the field so they can have a good, firm grasp of what they’ll be facing on a regular basis.
- The job goes beyond cleaning the victim’s body.
Cleaning up a dead person’s body is one responsibility of a crime scene cleaner, but it’s not only what they have to worry about. For example, when a body has decomposed, foul odours linger around and it may even stick to the victim’s personal properties. Crime scene cleaners are tasked to make sure that is properly taken care of as well. They also have to make sure that no maggots crawl out of their sight since it carries pathogens that can spread diseases. From floors, furnitures, bed sheets and linens, crime scene cleaners have to ensure that everything within the victim’s environment is cleaned and sanitized.
- Cleanups can cost $10,000
There are a number of different factors that can determine the cost of a crime scene cleanup. The severity of the situation, the number of workforce needed, and the amount of biohazards present in the area all add up to an expensive cost. The price varies from $1000 all the way up to $10,000 or more depending on how long the cleanup lasts.
Workers in the crime scene cleaning industry can make anywhere from $25 up to $100 per hour which varies from company to company.
- They use next-level cleaning equipment.
Cleaning up human tissue and fluids requires certain equipment and crime scene cleaners are loaded to the gills with next-level cleaning tools. When brain matter dries up, it forms into a cement-like consistency and crime scene cleaners use a special enzyme cleaner to soften it up before scraping it. When the surrounding area is filled with nasty odour, they use an ozone machine to clear up the air from the unwanted smell.
They can also use demolitions tools like crowbars, sledgehammers, and even circular saws to clean up areas around the victim where body fluids, pathogens, and contaminants might have seeped in like in between hardwood floors, corners of the room, etc.
- Most employees quit in about 5-10 years.
It’s no surprise that the crime scene cleaning industry is always experiencing a high turnover rate. These people are known to be iron-stomached individuals, but the nature of their job means they are always subjected to emotional stress wherever they go. It can be quite taxing and it really takes a toll on the workers. The psychological aspect of the job is what makes people quit in just 5 years of doing the work. Only the most unflinching individuals last in an industry where there is constant gore, grief, and violence.
- Ex-law enforcers and medical rescuers are usually the first candidates for the job.
Viable candidates for crime scene cleaning are usually ex-law enforcers, former military personnel, and medical rescuers because they have first-hand experience of dealing with violence, blood, and gore. This makes the job a bit more tolerable and they are able to separate their work from their own personal life much easier because they’ve experienced it before.
Prior exposure to such a distressing work environment means that these individuals are far more capable of dealing with the physical and emotional pressure of crime scene cleaning.
Crime scene cleaners are unheralded due to their unconventional work, but that doesn’t mean their work is not appreciated. The need for experienced, stomach-ironed individuals continues to grow day by day and only a few people are willing to devote the time and energy to such a demanding and challenging occupation.
It’s not just about cleaning up a dead body, it’s also about helping other people heal and recover from the loss of losing a loved one over a tragic incident.