The death of a loved one is never an easy process. Even under the best of circumstances, the concerns and emotions that death causes can be difficult to work through. It is extremely important to understand that cleaning up the remains after a loved one’s passing can be a complicated and risky affair. In instances of unattended death such as situations where someone passed away alone or has been the victim of a violent crime, only those skilled in dealing with biohazards are qualified to take on the death cleanup process.
Why is biohazard cleanup necessary?
Unfortunately, what remains at the scene of a death is not often neat. This is the case even when someone has simply quietly stopped breathing in their own bed. Nature quickly takes over. Once the finely-tuned mechanisms of a living body stop working, the next step in the natural order occurs. Waste products are released, and soon after, decomposition begins, releasing fluids from chemical changes in tissues. In situations where death has occurred violently and there are injuries, it is likely that there is blood to be cleaned up. All of these substances, and others, must be dealt with properly.
Death Cleanup Basics
Death cleanup is an extremely challenging and exacting task, and ordinary cleanup routines and personnel are not enough. Precautions must be taken due to the possibility of disease transmission to the cleanup staff and others that come into contact with the contaminated area. Simple precaution alone is not enough. More severe diseases like hepatitis or tuberculosis can come from handling the deceased. That is especially true with HIV, the hepatitis virus, and other blood-borne illnesses. The virus may remain infectious outside the body for up to two weeks. These are only a few of the risks that come from handling the remains of an unattended death.
Biohazard Cleanup Considerations
Cleansing the area where someone has died should be viewed as biohazard cleanup. Specialized equipment, including respirators and hazmat suits, are required. Proper, commercial-grade cleansers are necessary to kill potentially infectious microorganisms and to ensure that there are no latent wastes that cause lingering odors or stains. A thorough biohazard cleanup requires compliance with regulations for biohazard material handling, storage, and disposal.
Other considerations for a proper cleanup are important. If the cleanup is for a crime scene, the cleanup personnel must have experience working with law enforcement. That includes preventing cross-contamination, where clean areas are separated from materials in the contaminated areas. It is also very important that the privacy of the survivors is respected. Cleanup should be done efficiently, promptly, and unobtrusively.
Attempting to handle death cleanup yourself is not only dangerous to your own health, but it could be dangerous to others, too, if the area is not properly sanitized. No one should have to deal with the cleanup after the death of a loved one alone. Professionals who are properly trained and experienced should be called in to help.