Every 40 seconds, one person dies by suicide worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Suicide is not something you expect your family to experience firsthand, but they happen every day and it is not uncommon for suicides to occur in the family home.
What happens when suicide takes place in your home? After calling for help, families are often unsure of the next steps to take with the suicide scene.
It is a traumatic time where emotions run high and in moments of distress, family members might not know how to handle the scene with care. Below, we have included common mistakes families make when dealing with suicide scene cleanup.
Touching Things Before First Responders Arrive
Being present at a suicide scene is a traumatic experience and sometimes individuals touch the body or surrounding objects in a panic. It’s best to stay as calm as possible and keep everything as is until help arrives.
Touching a body can expose you to dangerous pathogens and disrupt a death investigation. At the scene of any death, first responders must determine the manner in which it occurred. This is more difficult if someone tampered with the scene in any way.
Assuming First Responders Are Responsible Cleaning Up a Suicide Scene
It’s a common assumption that first responders handle ordering a death cleanup company. Unfortunately, this is not the case and hiring a cleanup company is the homeowner’s responsibility.
You’ll want to hire a suicide cleaning company that offers specialized services for these situations.
Trying To Clean Up The Mess Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to clean up a suicide cleanup on your own. This is not recommended because these scenes may pose a health risk.
Bodily fluids, sharp objects, syringes, and blood at a scene are biohazards. These things pose a health risk because of their potential to spread infections. These can spread bloodborne pathogens, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.
There are strict guidelines and legislation regarding the removal of waste from crime scenes. A specialist technician with the proper training to perform suicide cleanup must treat these scenes.
Professionals often use specialized EPA-rated cleaning agents for deodorizing and sanitizing. Aside from the health risks, attempting to clean a suicide scene by yourself can also pose a risk to your emotional state. It’s a traumatic job to take on when you have a close relationship with the deceased.
Hiring a Cleaning Service That Doesn’t Specialize in Biohazard Cleanup
When looking for a cleanup company, you want to make sure that the company is experienced in dealing with biohazards. Biohazard cleanup is the removal, cleaning, and disinfection of bodily fluids and other areas affected by death or a violent scene. Obviously, this is needed in suicide cleanup.
This is a specialized service that requires intense training, special equipment, licenses, and precautionary methods. A professional who deals in biohazards will know exactly what cleaning products to use for an effective home cleanup and will have professional products to get the job done.
Once the area is clean, the right professionals will restore your home to its previous state before the death took place. Then, they will dispose of any hazardous waste from the scene in a safe place.
If a cleaning service isn’t familiar with biohazards, it’s possible they won’t clean the scene the correct way, leaving you to deal with lingering odors, missed messes, or unsafe conditions.
A bonus of using a specialized cleaning company is that they often have connections with insurance companies. The cleaning company may use these connections to have the costs of your cleanup covered, along with any repairs you may need.
Expecting The Smell to Fade Right Away
Decomposition odors are one of the most difficult smells to remove. A body can smell within a few hours of death and even a slight amount of bacteria can allow the odor to linger.
Biohazard cleaners use special solvents that are EPA-rated and equipment to remove these types of smells. Even after cleaning, the smell might linger, but if the job is done correctly, it will fade in time.
Not Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Dealing with the death of any loved one can take a toll on your emotions, but dealing with suicide after discovering the scene can be even more harmful to your mental health.
After experiencing a traumatic event, it is important to remain calm and get help when you need it. Find a place to stay that allows you to spend some time away from the scene during the cleaning process. This might be with friends, family, or in a hotel.
Lean on those friends and family for support. If you feel you need more help, seek a professional therapist or grief counselor. Professional therapists can help with PTSD, making sense of the situation, depression, anxiety, and the grieving process.
Avoid Making These Common Mistakes at a Suicide Scene
Experiencing loss by suicide can be a traumatic experience, and being left to deal with the cleanup afterward can cause an unexpected strain on families affected by the loss.
Not only can a suicide scene be hazardous, but it can also take a toll on your mental health. 360 Hazardous Cleanup is here to make the process easier by handling every step of the way for you. Their motto is “No Family Left Behind”, they are here for you.
Professionals are available 24/7/365 and are able to be on the scene in just a matter of hours for an assessment. Call their emergency response team today to handle your cleanup with compassion and professionalism.