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Trauma Scene techs clean, decontaminate crime, suicide scenes

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Biorecovery technicians handle what most of us would consider the dirty work cleaning and restoring sites where there have been suicides, crimes or industrial accidents.

Trauma Scene Services Crime & Death Scene Clean-up has been in existence since 2001, but president Rich Ross said very few people know about it. Police departments, individuals who discover dead bodies or companies have been referred to the St. Mary's Street business in Norwalk.

"I'm not trying to be an ambulance chaser," Ross said.

In 2006, Trauma Scene Services responded to four Huron County scenes. Two of those involved self-inflicted gun shots, one in Norwalk and the other in Greenwich.

Ross, who has been in the business for 30 years, estimated that technicians can be cleaning up sites for a couple hours to a couple days. He recalled being at one for 20 hours total because of the "tedious work" involved in tracing blood on the hard wood and "where blood splattered all over the place" in a large, open area.

Scenes where there are gun shot wounds can be difficult, Ross explained, because blood needs to be cleaned from cupboards and under floor tiles. In those cases, the technicians dismantle the cabinetry and floors to properly clean up the mess and make sure there is no contamination.

"The blood ran up the cupboard to the back wall," Ross said about one site.

The technicians use chemicals and specialty lights to trace blood trails. Ross said the "blood detectors" are similar to what's on the CBS show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and reveal body fluids that can't be seen by the naked eye.

Trauma Scene technicians sometimes are at scenes when the victim's relatives are still there. Ross said the workers aren't supposed to communicate with families because they might be tempted to say something consoling, but the person might not take it the right way.

"They're not a counselor," he added.

He highly recommends relatives not stay while the technicians do their job because of physical safety and having them observe the clean-up process probably wouldn't be good for their mental well-being.

Ross has witnessed a variety of emotions from victim's families after a suicide, such as disbelief, denial and anger. "Some of them can't believe they'd do something like that," he said.

Trauma Scene technicians are qualified through the American Biorecovery Association. Ross stressed that appropriate training is essential in order to properly clean the various scenes with blood or body fluids.

There have been times when people have attempted to clean things, but Ross said that makes a small job into a bigger one. For instance, firefighters hosing down areas with blood creates problems.

"If you have body fluids there, all you're doing is diluting it," he said.

Another problem is when residents use vacuum cleaners at the scene before Trauma Scene technicians arrive.

"Most people don't understand the blood-born pathogen. Some people don't think it's a big deal," Ross said. "That's why there's a need for what we do."

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