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There are FOUR things to consider when facing the cleanup after a traumatic event, such as a murder, suicide or accident where biohazardous materials, such as blood and physical remains, are present.

1. Always choose a trained professional

Because it’s traumatic: No one should have to deal with the personal impact of cleaning up after the traumatic loss of a loved one. A professional can get a situation cleaned up quickly, compassionately and discreetly.

Because it is a bigger job than you realize: Biohazard cleanup is typically more extensive than assumed, and must be done from top to bottom. Ceilings, walls and light fixtures must be cleaned, as well as furniture and personal items. What is seen on the surface of a floor, for example, is typically only about 10% of what’s lurking under carpets and wood, as fluids will seep below. These biohazards will begin to smell  and can be a source of infection, so thorough cleaning and removal is imperative.

Because it’s safer: Federal regulations classify all human and animal remains, including blood, urine, feces, vomit and bodily fluids, as biohazards. This is because they have the potential of carrying life-threatening pathogens such as Hepatitis B and C, AIDS, HIV, MRSA, Tuberculosis and many more. The safe cleanup and removal of biohazardous materials involves extensive analysis and detailed work, and the use of state-of-the-art cleaning and odor removal technologies.

2. Licensed, bonded and insured

The state of California requires that only licensed professionals conduct safe cleanup, removal and disposal of biohazardous waste. California requires cleanup professionals to obtain a Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioner permit, or an OSHA trained employee. Additional considerations include being registered and compliant with OSHA and FEMA, federal agencies that oversee disasters and workplace safety.

Cleanup crews will be coming into your home or the home of your loved one, so be sure the professional you choose is bonded and insured.

3. Beware of companies that provide cleanup AND restoration

In cases of extensive blood and bodily fluid remains, portions of walls, baseboards and flooring may have to be removed and disposed of, to make sure the areas are safe from pathogens and odor. A company that professes to clean and restore may have a conflict of interest, because they could be financially motivated to remove the largest possible areas so they can charge you the most for replacement work as well.

4. Will work with insurance companies

In most cases, insurance will cover much or all of the cost of traumatic even cleanup. You can minimize or eliminate your out-of-pocket expenses by working with licensed and bonded professionals who will deal directly with insurance companies, saving you one more headache in this already difficult process.

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