The National Center for Health Statistics reveals 2,854,838 people pass on each year in the USA, translating to a death rate of 869.7 deaths per 100,000 population. A significant portion of these deaths is termed unattended deaths. Discovering an unattended death or a decomposing body is one of the most traumatizing experiences, especially if the victim was a loved one.
When faced with an unattended death situation in your home, premise, or business, ensure a professional unattended death clean-up is initiated as soon as possible to minimize the risks of exposing yourself to harmful biohazardous substances and bring a halt to ongoing damage to the property.
What Is an Unattended Death?
An unattended death is a death that occurs when a person dies while staying alone, meaning the remains of the deceased person will not be immediately discovered. There are several cases of unattended deaths that stay for weeks or even months before the person’s remains are found. Common types of and/or circumstances that can lead to unattended deaths include homicides, suicides, accidents, illness, and natural causes. These unattended deaths occur in private homes, businesses, or even rental properties. It is important to know who to call when this happens and get trauma & biohazard specialists on-site as soon as possible.
What Happens After a Person Dies in an Unattended Death?
Several things happen soon after an unattended death. If the cause of death was traumatic, there is a high likelihood that blood and other bodily fluids were released, meaning the scene was immediately contaminated with a range of pathogens. Additionally, the decomposing process will commence immediately after the person dies.
Where the death was not traumatic, potentially hazardous pathogens will not be immediately released on the scene until 24 to 48 hours after the person has died. However, the decomposition process will commence immediately. There are several other changes, including:
- The remains will cool to an ambient temperature of the surrounding environment
- Blood will start to pool on the side of the body nearest the ground due to gravity
- The body muscles will start stiffening 8 to 12 hours after death in a process referred to as rigor mortis
What Is the Process of Body Decomposition?
The body will start decomposing after 24 to 48 hours after unattended death. Typically, the human body contains between 500 and 1000 different types of bacteria in the intestinal/digestive tract. When a person dies, the bacteria flood the entire body while degenerating and breaking down organs. This leads to discoloration, bloating, and the release of gases. Notably, it is the decomposition process that exposes biohazardous materials and pathogens to people who come into contact with the scene of death.
What Should I Do If I Discover Unattended Death?
If you discover unattended death, the first thing to remember is to remain as calm as possible & remove yourself from the hazardous situation to protect your health & safety. Secure the scene and call 911 to get appropriate assistance from the emergency teams. After the body has been removed and the investigation concluded, it is imperative to contact a trauma & biohazard specialist service to professionally remediate and restore your property.
Reasons for hiring a specialist to handle Unattended Death Cleanup
When you seek the help of certified unattended death clean-up services like 360 Hazardous Cleanup, you will receive a range of benefits. 360 Hazardous Cleanup offers reliable unattended death cleaning and disinfection that guarantee the following benefits:
Better results: Cleaning up a death scene yourself is never advisable. Traumatic events leave behind bodily fluid that can adversely affect your health. Specialists have the experience, resources, tools, and skills to remediate any & all hazardous biological materials, as per established industry standards by the EPA, CDC, OSHA, NIOSH, & other regulatory agencies. Once the scene has been professionally remediated, you will gain peace of mind knowing your property is free from bacteria, viruses, harmful pathogens, & other microorganisms.
Guaranteed Safety: Addressing a biohazardous cleanup yourself, exposes you to an array of health risks, including life-threatening diseases. When faced with an unattended death situation, you need to consider your health & safety first by hiring a specialist to manage your remediation requirements.
Less Traumatic: The loss of a loved one or an acquaintance is never easy to process. Attempting to clean up the situation yourself can create more emotional trauma, unnecessarily. Allowing a trauma & biohazard specialist to guide & empower you through the remediation process, avoids additional emotional trauma, which allows you to focus on all other aspects involved with losing a loved one.
Response & Service: Time is of the essence in these situations. The quicker a specialist can arrive on the scene to address the remediation concerns, the sooner the better. Properly remediating an unattended death situation is more complex & time-consuming than most people realize. When you hire specialists, you can rest assured knowing the service will be completed efficiently, effectively, discreetly, while adhering to the proper regulatory agencies.
How Do Specialists Clean an Unattended Death?
The following approach is a typical process to address & remediate an unattended death scene:
Step 1: Assess
A professional specialist will need to conduct an onsite assessment & walkthrough to establish the proper scope of work that is necessary to complete the remediation of biohazardous materials.
Step 2: Isolate & Control
Once the scope of work has been established, the next step is proper isolation and containment of the affected areas. This step is vital to ensuring the safety of the client, as well as, the team of specialists. Additionally, this step allows the specialists to prevent cross-contamination of the scene during the remediation process.
Step 3: Remediation
The remediation step will consist of the removal and proper disposal of all biohazardous materials. During this process, specialists must adhere to the meticulous protocols and practices, established by governing agencies in the industry to ensure full remediation is achieved. The remediation process must be adaptable to meet the requirements for the uniqueness of each unattended death scene. The specialist must use EPA-rated chemicals that are designed for biohazard remediation processes. These chemicals are essential as they completely kill and destroy bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pathogens that could pose risks to your health.
Step 4: Disinfection
The decomposition process of an unattended death is not a pleasant one. During the decomposition process, the body will release gases, bacteria, and other volatile compounds. A body that has been left unattended for several days or longer, results in more intense odors, which becomes more challenging to eliminate. Specialists need to leverage the proper process to achieve thorough disinfection. This process typically follows an order, gross filth/debris removal, disinfection, and deodorization. Depending on the severity of the situation this process might have to be reapplied to achieve the proper results.
Step 5: Restoration
Restoration is the final step of unattended death cleanup. A robust unattended death biohazard remediation process is declared successful once specialists have restored the premise to a fully habitable condition. This is crucial for the safety of the occupants, including your family and or staff. If the business premise was the death scene, it is critical to render it completely safe and usable through a professional cleanup process. Throughout the remediation process, it is important to consider the possibility of reconstruction, in order to successfully remove all biohazardous materials. Replacement of these items will be necessary in order to have a restored property.
Get Specialized Help Today
Although it is not a pleasant thought, the reality is people die each day and are left undiscovered for several days, months, or even years. Handling the scene of an unattended death is one of the most challenging jobs that should be left only to specialists.
At 360 Hazardous Cleanup, we take pride in our capability to help you manage the unsightly scenes of death and remediate even the most challenging situation with experience, compassion, & a science-based approach.
Our unattended death clean-up specialists follow industry-standard safety protocols to disinfect and restore your home or business 24/7/365. 360 Hazardous Cleanup offers reliable and rapid remediation after unattended death. Contact us today to speak with our experienced biohazard specialists and get a free on-site estimate.