How Much Does it Cost to Clean a Crime Scene?
Experiencing the scene of a crime is an experience few can forget. It is a difficult scene to process physically and emotionally especially for family members of the deceased. Residential owners or family members of the deceased can clean the scene although not recommended, as biohazard cleaning requires strict processes and procedures.
Biohazard cannot be disposed in a regular trash can and can be dangerous if you do not have the proper decontamination equipment and gear. We certainly recommend companies like Spaulding Decon to service your decontamination needs as they provide a detailed scope of work, cost and see that all surfaces are thoroughly decontaminated regardless of the extent of biohazard and how to properly dispose of it.
Ever wonder what the cost of biohazard cleaning looks like? Many people do. Decontamination of a biohazard scene depends on several factors. I spoke with the General Manager at Spaulding Decon Tampa who graciously walked me through the process of surveying the property and providing customers estimates for the scope of work needed to decontaminate their property thoroughly and securely.
Crime Scene Cleaning Estimation Process:
- Upon receiving a call, the company tries to gather as much information without being intrusive as they understand that crime or suicide scenes can be quite traumatic, and they want to be as empathetic as possible. They listen for details such as type of scene (whether suicide, unattended death, crime scene, time the person has been deceased, any details about the condition of the scene and any details about factors that can contribute to the state of decomposition. They listen but do not ask for these details as they can learn more upon arriving at the scene for inspection.
- When can I come inspect?
- What is the address of the location where the inspection will take place?
- What is the caller’s relation to the property? This question is asked as they need to be sure the person calling is the legal decision maker.
- Have police cleared the scene yet? Police are the first who should be contacted as they need to investigate the scene, collect evidence, and rule out foul play.
- Has the body been removed? The coroner’s office is typically the team who retrieves the persons remains.
- Upon arriving at the scene, the biohazard cleaning technician should be surveying the area and being especially keen to odors if any. The longer the body is unattended the more progressed the state of decomposition will be. The longer the person has been deceased, the stronger the smell of decomp. This begins outside of the property
- Once they have identified their point of contact, the technician will continue to do scent test to see how strong the odor is and what areas are mostly affected.
- Upon arriving to the location where the incident occurred, the technician will survey the area, looking for state of decomposition, biohazard cross contamination, textures and surfaces affected at the scene.
- The technician needs to pay close attention to outside factors contributing to decomposition such as, the temperature of the room, elements, and exposure to outside contributing factors.
- Once the area has been surveyed, tech has identified the areas of cross contamination, made a list of all the areas that require cleaning, decontamination and even replacement of materials such as carpet, drywall, tile etc., then they can provide a fair estimate of cost.
Stages of Decomposition
Once a person’s organs shut down, their body begins the process of decomposition which is basically the body breaking itself down into matter. Ideally the body goes from organs to a skeleton during the stages of decomposition.
Once the crime scene cleaning company has made their assessment and provided a quote, they will discuss payment methods with the decision maker to determine if they will be paying out of pocket or filing a claim through their homeowners insurance company.
Understanding Spaulding Decon’s process
If the decision maker decides to pay out of pocket, then Spaulding Decon will collect 50% of the job cost up front, or prior to commencement and the remainder at completion. If the decision maker decides to file a claim through their homeowner’s insurance, then we will collect a deductible from them and commence work as soon as possible.
Typically, people who require crime scene cleaning services will file a claim with their insurance company as many insurance policies include unattended death coverage. Once Spaulding Decon has the customers deductible, they will bill the insurance company for the remainder of the work.
Cleaning Chemicals used for Biohazard Removal at Crime Scenes
During the cleaning process, Spaulding Decon will use a special chemical indicator that detects biohazard exposure that is unseen to the naked eye. This allows them to provide a thorough cleaning. So thorough, in fact, that they will replace all materials that have been exposed with biohazard, or where blood has seeped through.
To learn more about the process of detecting contamination with chemicals, watch this video. Technicians will also try to remove or diminish the source of odor. The location of the home or type of property plays an important part in the decontamination process. For example, if a person is deceased for a long period of time in an apartment, it is possible that biohazard material could have seeped through the floor onto other units in the building. The body can liquify if left unattended for long periods of time and thus affect material that is beyond the area where the scene happened.
Typically, biohazard or crime scene cleaning can range anywhere from $2,500 to $65,000 depending on matter of death, areas contaminated, duration unattended, stage of decomposition and the elements impacting the scene therefore we recommend hiring a crime scene cleaning company such as Spaulding Decon to do a thorough and effective job.
The stage of decomposition plays a role in the cost of the cleaning. The worst the decomp, the more the cost as the contents would have sat on surfaces longer, seeped into crevices further and deeper and thus made for a deeper more thorough cleaning. Badly decomposed body contents that have sat in environments that badly affect decomposition typically require things like replacement of materials such as dry wall, carpet, and tile to name a few. These materials add to the cost of cleanup.
Contact us today for a same-day response and quote on Crime Scene Cleaning.
eBook - What To Do When Police Leave
There are so many misconceptions about law enforcement’s role when it comes to crime scenes and investigations. When law enforcement is called their sole responsibility is to collect evidence, interview witnesses, and solve a crime. There is no thought whatsoever to the cleanup or restoration to your home. Learn more in this free eBook by Spaulding Decon.
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