In the commission of a crime, a lot of material gets left behind. Often these clues become the basis for a case and help the process of justice along. At some point, all those materials need to be cleared and cleaned.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to deal with the aftermath of a crime, then you’ve started down the path. As for a career, learning how to become a crime scene cleaner is fairly straightforward.
It’s like any other custodial job except for much harder, more dangerous, more scrutinized, and comes with higher than average pay, especially for biohazard cleaning.
If you are ready to enter the taxing but rewarding, world of forensic cleaning, this guide is for you.
How to Become a Crime Scene Cleaner
While we present six steps here, there are three phases to learn. First is the pla, much like you would have in any business. Next, you need to invest in the tools oft he trade and the skills that go with them. Finally, you get into how to find work in the field.
1. Mission Statement
Like any business, you start with a mission statement. Why do you want to get involved in crime scene cleaning?
This is where you take in the scope of the work you will engage in. Working with bodily fluids is one of the hazards and difficulties of the job. More importantly, dealing with the aftermath of tragedy can take a heavy toll on some.
Know at the outset you will need to deal with some tricky situations including showing empathy with victim’s families and following strict legal guidelines.
There are also health risks to consider. Working with blood and other bodily fluids carries with it exposure to diseases and bacteria you wouldn’t normally encounter.
It helps to do some research before you begin. You want to get ahold of information on crime rates, market saturation, and competition.
Also in your initial plan, consider if you want to launch your own brand or get involved with a known company. Franchising can take a lot of the work out of establishing your business and help with acquiring equipment and licenses.
Running a biohazard cleanup company takes addition equipment you don’t need in an office cleaning company.
You will need hazardous material protective gear for yourself and any employees. You also need specially marked bags for disposal of materials.
Expect to provide full protective suits including masks, respirators, and several levels of protection depending on the site.
An ozone machine is a must to sanitize the air and remove lingering smells. Recall that cleaning up drug manufacturing is also in the crime scene cleaning purview.
The gear doesn’t stop with what’s needed at the scene. You also need to invest in a certified hazmat transport vehicle. These need to be capable fo avoiding leaks and spills while on the road to prevent contamination.
You might outsource transportation to a company that specializes in hazmat CDL jobs.
You’ll need to procure, store, and use chemicals capable of sanitizing bodily fluids. The volatile nature of these chemicals means additional security for your business facility.
With more companies worried about Greeninitiatives and possible side-effects and corrosion, you also need to be careful in your selection.
More than a few cleaners just starting out have managed to mix a few chemicals and create a problem.
4. Permits and Licenses
This is probably the most important step in running a cleanup company. Since you are dealing with crime scenes, you will be dealing with emergency personnel and police. You need to adhere to the law to avoid issues.
First, you need a standard business license. Then you need certifications for handling hazardous materials. You may also need specific permits to operate specific equipment.
Many of the residential and commercial sites you work in will want to use insurance to cover the costs of cleanup. Assist yourself by complying with local statutes to ensure you get paid.
Safety is a major concern. You will need to be certified through OSHA for workplace safety. Getting business and Worker’s Comp insurance also help you avoid costly errors.
Security also matters. Draft non-disclosures agreements and confidentiality documents to work with families and businesses. This protects your business practices and avoids issues with press that may show up at a scene.
Working with hazardous chemicals and biohazardous materials exposes you to risks. You need to train employees to use protective gear safely to avoid dehydration and heat stroke, even in cold areas.
Make sure you cover what to do in the case of accidental exposure and impress the importance of health checkups. Staff needs to be vaccinated against common bloodborne pathogens and know how to spot warning signs of exposure.
Expect to pay for trauma counseling and work-related stress issues for employees. Working in the aftermath of crimes takes a heavy emotional toll on people.
Racking up a client base takes work no matter the business. In the case of crime scene cleaning, you need to know who to talk to about work without coming off ghoulish.
Work with local paramedics, fire departments, and police for referrals. Building a name requires a high level of professionalism and guaranteeing results.
A single incident of a family member or co-worker getting ill after you clean can sink your business.
Get your company in front of district attorneys, funeral homes, and health departments to expand your work options.
Find Your Way
Getting involved with crime scene cleanup isn’t a snap decision. There are a lot of steps involved in how to become a crime scene cleaner and a lot of work once you begin.
Still, you contribute greatly to a community by providing a necessary, if grim, service and it has its monetary rewards on top.
Come back here for more information about starting a business and finding services.