Our staff at Bio SoCal are often called to scenes for biohazard cleanup after the police have received a request for a wellness check. These checks often lead to the discovery of an elderly person in distress, the body of someone who has passed away, or a crime scene. They are a vital way to check on our loved ones when we suspect something is amiss.
What is a wellness check?
A wellness check is when one or more police officers go to a person’s location, usually their residence, to check on their mental or physical health. This is most often done when a friend or family member has a reason to be concerned for a friend or loved one or they haven’t been able to get a hold of them for a while.
Examples of why you might call the police for a wellness check include:
- A friend who is having thoughts of suicide
- An acquaintance you believe is being hurt
- An older neighbor you haven’t seen in some time and who doesn’t answer the door or answer their phone
- Family members you haven’t been able to get a hold of
During a wellness check, police are not allowed to collect evidence nor are they allowed to use a wellness check to enter a property to make an arrest.
How do I request a wellness check?
Get in touch with the police department where the wellness check will need to be conducted. You can do this either by calling 9-1-1 if you believe the person is in immediate danger or the non-emergency line of their local police department.
Before you call the police for a wellness check, make sure you have a good reason to suspect the person you are calling about could be in serious danger. It is not an action to be taken lightly. When you call, the police will ask you questions about the person, your relationship with them, why you think a wellness check is warranted, and any recent conversations you had with the person in question. This will help them determine whether a wellness check is needed and if it is an emergency situation.
What happens during a wellness check?
When the police arrive at the location in question, they knock on the door and announce their police identification. If no response is forthcoming, they can force their way into the building. Police are only able to legally enter the premises of a person’s home during a wellness check if they have reasonable grounds to believe someone is in danger. In cases where someone is unconscious or otherwise unable to respond, this action enables police or other first responders to then administer life-saving aid.
What happens after a wellness check is conducted depends on what the police find once they get there.
- If the person is found safe and is doing well, the police will simply notify you of the outcome.
- If the person is found injured, sick, or is found deceased, the police will call you and, if you are in the area, will wait until you arrive at the scene.
- If the person is injured or deceased due to criminal activity, the police will initiate an investigation and will contact you to let you know what is going on.
Bio SoCal is here to help after wellness checks
Our team at Bio SoCal often helps families by cleaning up blood and other bodily fluids found during a wellness check. We recently helped a family work through a difficult time after they received a disturbing letter from an out-of-state family member. Unable to get a hold of their loved ones, they then contacted the police to request a wellness check. When officers arrived, they found the couple in question deceased. Bio SoCal then arrived on scene once the investigation was complete to remove the biohazards and restore the property to safety so family members could enter the property.
Call the police for a needed wellness check
Every day we see how important wellness checks can be in the health of a loved one. Whether a person is in medical distress, in serious danger, or has passed away, the police can be of immeasurable help in discovering how the person is doing.
If you need the police to conduct a wellness check for your friend, neighbor, or family member, call 9-1-1 or locate the non-emergency police phone number for their location.