Arizona Crime / Trauma Scene Precautions
It is important to consider safety precautions when entering an Arizona trauma scene, crime scene cleanup, unattended death scene or suicide scene. Whenever possible, it is best to avoid entry altogether, and to wait for a trauma scene cleaners or other qualified professionals to arrive and assess any potential biohazard risk due to blood borne pathogens, bacteria or viral infection risk.
It is understandable that the death of a loved one is a very traumatic experience and it may be difficult to think clearly when this type of situation occurs. There are however, some important considerations that may help to ensure safety and perhaps even reduce the costs associated with the crime scene cleanup or trauma scene biohazard cleanup process.
Let’s begin by speaking about some of the reasons relatives feel the need to enter the home after a family member has passed away or when serious accidents resulting in the presence of blood and other bodily fluids have happened in a residence.
Affinity Bio Solution’s staff in Phoenix Arizona have often noticed that when pets of the deceased are present, people often feel the need to remove the animals immediately, often considering the well-being of the family pet. Another common example of when someone may attempt to enter a home is to secure valuables or paperwork such as homeowner’s insurance documents that may be required by companies preparing to remediate a trauma scene. It is important to take precautions when entering a trauma scene or crime scene for cleaning.
After the notification a death has occurred, law enforcement may be present, which provides relatives an opportunity to ask about the retrieval of any pets by the law enforcement professionals of other agencies. This is an important step because animals may be contaminated with blood, body fluids, or other potentially harmful pathogens as they often travel to and from the deceased owner based on their relationship with them. Extra care and attention provided by first responders can make it safer to transport the animal and house the animal until plans are made to care for them. If first responders or other agencies are helping in this way, it is often wise to ask them to wear shoe covers and to exit/enter through one access point. It is uncommon, but there have been situations where blood and body fluids or decomposition are present and first responders have walked back and forth throughout multiple entries/exits. This led to a dramatically increased cost for cleanup and damage to flooring in the homes.
Retrieving valuables and other documentation may be necessary if the property is going to be vacant for several hours or days. In such circumstances it may be necessary to ask law enforcement to retrieve these items for you. If, however, a crime scene cleaning company has been contacted and may arrive at the property relatively quickly, these professionals are often used to having to secure documents and valuables for family members. This helps the family avoid contaminating the scene further and helps them to stay safe. Technicians working for Affinity Bio Solutions take photographic evidence upon arrival of the scene and any valuables present and always suggest family members wait for them to retrieve documents.
Affinity Bio Solutions is more concerned about the safety of clients and the trusting relationships built between the client and company than finding paperwork to secure an insurance claim as form of payment immediately. Our process will typically involve full PPE and cleaning our way in to the areas containing blood borne pathogens to retrieve personal documents or valuables. Sometimes this retrieval is not possible right away or the items may be affected themselves and need decontamination. When this occurs, the family can feel confident that photographic evidence and the securing of such items as we encounter them means that people can trust all items will be returned to them.
Again, Affinity Bio Solutions does not recommend entering any biohazardous environment, but there still could be a possibility that friends or family members have no alternative. If you must enter, it is unlikely you would have a biohazard suit and full-face respirator available, but there are some steps that can help you improve your chances of staying safe and not creating more damage. Attempt to find shoe covers and gloves, if shoe covers are not available, consider wearing shoes you can discard before leaving the scene. Avoid any areas with visible insect activity, as flies and other insects typically land on the body or contaminated areas, then could potentially contaminate you, or other items when they land. Keep all windows and doors closed to avoid a sudden influx of insect activity.
Be careful where you walk, blood is at times easily observed, but when undiscovered death occurs, the black or dark substance indicating extremely high bacterial activity where the body once was is often difficult to see. Do not take anything that appears contaminated and try not to move items around areas soiled with blood or bodily fluids, this can lead to cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is also likely to occur when moving from room to room, just because contaminants are not clearly visible it does not mean they are not there. Change gloves frequently and do not touch unprotected areas of the body or personal items such as cell phones with gloves on. Always leave gloves and shoe covers on-scene before leaving and wash hands immediately after removing gloves, or use hand sanitizer until hand washing is possible. Proper lighting can often help identify contaminated areas; Affinity Bio Solutions often uses ATP testing to determine whether areas may be potentially hazardous and require disinfection and takes continual steps to avoid cross-contamination.
For any questions about this blog post, please call Affinity Bio Solutions AZ at (602) 361-1556. We offer free evaluations of all trauma/crime scenes and would be happy to retrieve essential items free of charge while conducting an estimate to help keep you and your family safe.