Dan is a Fire Fighter for the New Lenox Fire Department. He started his company about three years ago. Why? Because there was a need, and he thought who better to do this type of work than fire fighters.
Most of the employees who work for Chicago Crime Scene Cleanup (CCSC) are fire fighters or EMTs and this is their second job. Any time he knows there could be something hazardous in the air at a cleanup scene, Dan makes sure one of his EMTs is there and never sends only one person to the scene to do the job.
CCSC is not only dispatched to crime scenes. There are other situations where cleanup of this type are needed. For example, they have gone to the homes of hoarders to clean up anything and everything. They have also been asked to come out to a scene for animal cleanup. He said the two most destructive animals he's seen are the racoon and the cat. Racoons not only leave bodily waste, but tear into walls and make nests in insulation.
The worst thing about cats is their urine odor--it's nearly impossible to get rid of because their urine has such a low ratio of water to ammonia. The cleanup crew usually has to tear out any carpeting or other flooring, including the floor boards, walls, etc. to get it all. Then if it has soaked through to supportive beams, a very strong chemical has to be used. Even after all of that, they cannot guarantee that this odor won't come back at least faintly when the weather is hot and humid.
Dan talked in great detail about blood removal. Of course, with an audience full of mystery writers what else would one talk a about? One misconception is to use bleach. They never use bleach. It leaves too much of an odor and they have to use ammonia to break down the blood so it is easily removed. As we know, bleach and ammonia are a lethal combination. If they cannot get the blood out, they will removed flooring, walls, or furniture that is affected. They do this because once a blood drop has fully dried, it becomes airborne. If there's anything infectuous in that blood, it becomes a very dangerous hazard for those who reside in the home.
He recommended that we watch the movies "The Cleaner" and "Sunshine Cleaning" if we wanted to see the most realistic depiction of crime scene cleanup. The only scene he had a problem with was the one in "The Cleaner" where the technician uses a squeegie to remove blood from a leather couch. That wouldn't be done, because leather absorbs the blood and bodily fluids just like cloth does. The piece of furniture would be cut into pieces that fit into their hazardous waste containers.
Dan brought in his hazardous waste cleanup gear. There was a full body suit. It covers the crew member from head to feet covering everything but the hands and face. They layer up with two pairs of gloves. They use three thickness of gloves depending upon what they are cleaning up. They also have booties that go over their feet which give them a second layer of protection there. If they are going into a hazardous chemical (meth lab) or biological situation, they will wear respiratory masks. There are full face masks for situations where the eyes as well as the nose and mouth need to be covered or the half mask for the nose and mouth.
There was so much more, but this is getting rather lengthy. If you have any questions I can answer, please send them my way. If you'd like to check out the Chicago Crime Scene Cleanup website, go to http://chicsc.com.