Suicide is a difficult topic most people prefer to avoid altogether. Our societal aversion to the topic means most people don’t know what they need to do if the unthinkable happens.
Unfortunately, in spite of the best efforts of many, suicide happens. This leaves surviving loved ones to navigate a confusing and difficult healing and cleanup process.
Many resources offering help following suicide launch right into how to cope with grief. But if you are still in the phase of trying to manage the logistics, you may be looking for different information.
As a biohazard cleanup company, our work at Bio-One often involves families coping with the loss of a loved one to suicide. Because of this, we strive to do our part to help by providing some helpful information for navigating this difficult time.
What Do I Need To Do Now?
If you are here because you need information, it’s likely you’ve already contacted emergency services about the death. After the police, coroner, and/or medical examiner have released the scene and your loved one’s body has been transported to a medical facility there are a few things that need to happen next:
- Identification - If you are the immediate next of kin but were not the person who discovered and identified the body at the scene, you may be asked to identify the body in person or through photographs. If the prospect is too traumatic or overwhelming for you, this is completely understandable and you can ask someone else to do the identification.
- Transportation for Funeral Preparation - The coroner’s office or medical examiner’s office will usually release the body to the family within 1 to 3 days. At that point, if you have chosen a funeral home, you can contact them to make arrangements to transport the body there to begin preparations for the funeral if you’re having a service.
- Cleanup of the Scene - Unfortunately, the coroner or medical examiner do not make any arrangements for cleanup after a suicide. At this point, it becomes the responsibility of the property owner or the friends and family to arrange for cleanup.
- Do not try to clean up the scene yourself. Though the property owner or next of kin is responsible for arranging for cleanup, it’s critical that you do not actually do the cleanup yourself. The blood and fluids left behind after a death are a biohazard. Attempting to do the cleanup yourself can be dangerous as well as deeply traumatic.
Suicide cleanup is a job that should be entrusted to professionals. If you are currently in the position of needing to arrange for cleanup, please contact Bio-One right away at 303-625-6543.
We have all the equipment and expertise needed for the job, and we will treat the scene, the situation, and any belongings with respect and care. We will also help you to get the insurance process underway to get cleaning costs covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Through this difficult and traumatic time, this is the last thing you should have on your plate. We are here to help.
What’s Involved in a Suicide Scene Clean-Up?
Even though you are not participating in the cleaning itself, understanding what’s involved can be an important part of the grieving process. Some people may need to know exactly what is involved in cleaning up the scene.
The time required for a clean-up and the extent of what’s required can vary depending on how much bio-matter is left at the scene and how long the body was there. Bio-One has a tried-and-true process to restore the scene to a safe and habitable state in a way that is both thorough and respectful.
Our process is as follows:
- Inspection - First, we thoroughly inspect the scene to assess what supplies will be needed, how much bio-hazardous material will need to be removed, and the extent of any damage that could be caused by decomposition.
- Bio-matter Disinfection and Disposal - Next we clean and dispose of any visible blood, body fluids, and compromised porous items. We then contain, disinfect, and dispose of all bio-matter properly in accordance with state laws to ensure everyone’s safety. Sometimes this involves removing sections of soiled carpeting, floorboards, baseboards, or other household items to ensure no hazardous material is left behind.
- Personal Belongings - We will take care to preserve any personal items that can be safely cleaned. Porous materials like clothing and stuffed animals can’t be truly disinfected, but upon request we can clean them to the best of our ability and return them to the family.
- Restoration Prep - Once everything has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, we work to get everything to a point where it can be handed off to contractors for restoration work if necessary. We are not involved in the restoration process, but we will ensure the site is clean and ready for whoever you hire to get to work. We will also take care of filing the claims with your insurance company for the cleaning services.
We hope these details will help to take some weight off your mind during this difficult time so you can focus on any preparations you need to make.
With cleaning out of the way, your remaining responsibilities may focus on informing family and friends and/or making funeral arrangements. Be sure to take care of your own mental health as you take the next steps. You are going through something very painful, but hopefully the help from your family, friends, loved ones, and community will ease some of the stress.
Bio-One is here for you as you weather this tragic time. We hope our service will help ease your burden. Though the circumstances may be difficult, we are honored to be a part of your community at this incredibly challenging time.