Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

Cleaning up after the police

Cleaning up a crime scene is just one of those jobs:  It’s messy but somebody’s got to do it.

Cleaning up a crime scene is just one of those jobs: It’s messy but somebody’s got to do it.

Few people realize that after the fingerprints have been lifted, the fabrics DNA-tested and blood samples swabbed, your friendly neighbourhood insurance claims adjuster steps in to make it all go away.

Glen Oxford is the national property manager in claims for the Co-operator’s Group and he’s seen his fair share of crime scenes.

“In one case, it was a whole family that was murdered and you can’t totally remove that from your own thoughts so it can be difficult,” he said.

Most standard property insurance plans cover damage caused by “malicious acts,” said Oxford, but a lot of people don’t make the connection that includes assault, vandalism and even murder.

Insurance companies hire contractors to do the cleanup, but claims adjusters still have to deal with the families and sometimes have to be on scene to check out the damage.

“You obviously try and be compassionate with them (family members) because they’ve just gone through a tragic loss,” Oxford said.

Like many in the property insurance and disaster restoration fields, Oxford once participated in an intensive trauma-scene recovery seminar.

The Center for Disaster Recovery in Barrie is one of the only training facilities in Canada that offers a course on dealing with trauma scenes and blood-borne pathogens.

Oxford said he vividly remembers the two-day workshop.

“Without a doubt it did play into the psyches of some of the individuals involved and they came away from that realizing that they did not want to get involved in this sort of work,” he said.

A section of a warehouse was set up to look like a child’s bedroom, following a murder.

Stephanie Beattie teaches the course and she said it’s intended to guide students through the safe handling and clean up of blood using animal blood and tissue.

Participants suit up in personal protective gear and use the techniques they’ve learned in class to restore the room as effectively and safely as possible.

“The key is safety,” Beattie said.

The course teaches participants how to use different chemicals to remove stains from various materials, when something is salvageable and when it’s not, and how to deal with the psychological effects of a trauma-scene clean up.

Stephan Roy is the manager of disaster restoration for ServiceMaster of Canada, which specializes in disaster-scene restoration. He says there’s some satisfaction in knowing you’ve helped the other victims of a tragedy — the ones left behind, he said.

“It’s not for everybody,” the Toronto-based manager said. “But somebody has to be there (for) them.”

Through courses at the Center for Disaster Recovery, professionals can earn IIRC accreditation (Institute for Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification).

 
 
Consider AlsoFurther Articles