Readers here find three types of suicide cleanup help on this page. One, I write suicide cleanup information for someone interested in hiring suicide cleanup help. Two, I write suicide cleanup information found here for those who choose to do suicide cleanup out of a sense of duty, honor, or economic necessity. I write about suicide cleanup for technicians and those interested in information related to suicide and my growing philosophy for suicide cleanup.
How do I clean up a suicide?
I'm not a lawyer and laws change from state to state. But, my short answer is, "No." In this question two big meanings exist. First big meaning, can a public employee, civil servant, order a citizen to use a particular suicide cleanup company. "No."
In its second big meaning, four more meanings exist.
Suicide cleanup technicians arrive on time or somewhere close to being on time. Keep traffic conditions in mind. If your cleaning company using a suicide cleanup crew, then expect a lead suicide cleanup technician to introduce herself. She will provide a business card. Depending on company policy, she may have a responsible party sign a contract.
Your contract will, or should, spell out all conditions for cleaning and clarify your method of payment and so-forth. Some companies will require a lien on property to begin cleaning. Others do not.
Depending on the nature of a suicide cleanup, shotgun, handgun, razor, knife, pills, decomposition, a suicide cleanup technicians will dress in personal protective equipment, including face shields for nose, eye, and mouth protection.
If these cleaners receive an hourly wage, expect an 8 hour cleanup. They may not remain for 8 hours, at least not all of them. Their invoice will reflect 8 or more hours for all technicians present at one time or another, often enough.
Generally, insurance companies pay when a crew does the cleaning. Under this arrangement the more hours logged on a job the better for technicians and their company. More demolition caused on a job means greater justification for increased hours and biohazardous waste bags.
Biohazard waste bags create revenue. Bags may generate $200 to $350 each. Bags may contain blood soiled garments, blood soiled carpet and carpet cushion, or blood soiled furniture stuffing. They may also contain curtains, shower curtains, and other house-hold materials not soiled by biohazardous waste. Without close supervision, which seldom occurs during suicide cleanup, a large percentage of biohazardous waste bags may find room on a companies invoice.
Suicide cleanup technicians will usually work respectfully, quietly, and almost always courteously.
No one can vouch for technicians' honest. It seems reasonable that companies will do their best to hire the more honest and diligent applicants. One familiar with the labor market for suicide cleanup technicians will take note here, I'm sure.
I have observed naive, ignorant suicide cleanup technicians in the field. It's more of an age and arrogance issue than bad faith behavior I've observed. It seems younger technicians without supervision create a poor impression and greater opportunities for misadventure.
Then again, I have observed suicide cleanup technicians in their mid-20s and older who would do well as poster models for a biohazard industry in general. Finding quality employees with good working attitudes must come with luck. For certain, and suicide cleanup company with such employees ought to do well by them. "Impressive" would not go far enough to describe some of the suicide cleanup technicians I've seen in the field. I wish they could work for me.
Technicians should make an effort to decontaminate their feet before moving around a home or business once on a suicide scene. Most will probably do so because it takes time, and time means more money.
Technicians basically remove blood soiled materials, scrub-and-rinse once blood soiled areas, and disinfect. They may also seal once soiled areas.
Advantages of a suicide cleanup crew include a quick cleanup if their leader orders it so at the behest of a responsible party. With their manpower, experience, and cleaning techniques, a suicide cleanup crew has a capability to clean after most suicides in a few hours at most, on average.
A crew should also have at least one set of "young eyes" available for inspecting their suicide scene work upon completion. A crew will have mixed experience, which may prove helpful for some types of problem solving. "Two minds are better than one."
Honesty with a crew has it limits, but one honest crew member will police the others with his or her presence. This assumes peer pressure does not overcome a strong will to do the right thing.
Some people do not tolerate stealing from the dead or their families under any conditions. This simple ethic does not apply to crews servicing coroner or medical examiner referred companies. Anything goes with such companies, I have learned. Otherwise, a single, honest crew member goes a long way to ensuring a certain amount of integrity in crew-services, suicide cleanup and otherwise.
Too many variables exist to answer this question with any authority.
For certain a crew can perform a single or double suicide cleanup in half as much time and less than a self-employed cleaner. Even more so, a couple well trained suicide cleanup technicians harnessing their skills and abilities generate a synergy between them. As a result they do a lot of work in a very short time. The more experience two crew members have working together, the more their labor synergy, so to speak. Both know just about when to anticipate the other's movements.
A self-employed cleaner lumbers along at a slow, steady pace, unlike the team efforts of a crew. An advantages of a crew over a self-employed cleaner for saving time cannot be denied. If time is an issue, a crew will do.
At times business owners prefer that their crews extend their efforts to help pay for overhead and increase profits. So this part of a crew's baggage should come to mind when considering a crew.
A self-employed cleaner's slowness may not matter since most suicide cleanup takes less than eight hours. A suicide cleanup by a self-employed cleaner will take anywhere from two hours to eight. A double suicide may take twice as long. A shotgun suicide may take a self-employed cleaner two days.
A self-employed cleaner gives a responsible party more leverage when it comes to adding value to a suicide cleanup. self-employed cleaner-owners have more latitude when it comes to enhancing their work with additional choirs. Removing additional carpet and furniture comes to mind. Because self-employed cleaners do the decision making on a scene, they have powers available that a crew cannot possibly share.
The above labor time for suicide cleanup times do not apply to removing floors and walls. Careful, thorough cleaning with patience saves floors and walls, virtues of a self-employed cleaner. Suicides by handgun tend to take place on beds, in bathrooms, and in the middle of living rooms. These areas have enough fabric, blankets, and other absorbents to stop blood from bullet wounds and trauma to necks and wrists in most cases.
Also, suicide by handgun or rifle usually results in sudden death, causing a body to retain more blood then if an injured suicide victim bleeds to death. Decomposition leading to complete dehydration after a few days may cause fluids to flow toward lower areas. Next to a wall, flowing or seeping fluids may cause blood to wick up walls and furniture, especially in low areas.
Next to a wall on a second floor or above, blood will find a way below to a sub floor and onto a ceiling below at times. Other times blood will travel horizontally along cross members or vertically down air ducts. Fortunately these problems remain the exception, rather than the rule. A self-employed cleaner's skills at saving flooring and walls saves everyone time and money, overall.
Companies with crews tend to charge $200 to $350 per hour. Some companies charge these amounts per hour per employee, an astounding sum by any measure. Figures from $5,000 to $50,000 are not unheard of when crew cleaning companies service suicide cleanups. Rarely do market forces apply in these cases, but when they do chance rather than comparison shopping comes into play.
There are no consumer advocates for suicide cleanup. No standard fees exist between companies for the public to choose. Suicide cleanup markets resemble a deck of cards stacked with jokers rather than a self-leveling open market for competitors.
Because of this business climate, once an insurance company's claim number becomes available to a suicide cleanup company, the sky becomes the limit in many cases.
Because of these conditions self-employed cleaners face an awkward challenge. How do they charge enough for a decent profit? If they quote $150 per hour for their labor and a suicide cleanup takes two hours, they make only $300. Considering overhead, down time, and other expenses, not to forget insurance, a self-employed cleaner will not last long at $150 per hour.
Fortunately for self-employed cleaners, they know before hand about how long most jobs will take before seeing them. Even the toughest, most challenging suicide cleanup jobs take less than two days. Without employee expenses, the self-employed cleaner will make money when giving a flat fee on most jobs.
Because crew served companies must charge multiples of a self-employed cleaner company, the self-employed cleaner has little trouble under bidding the crew served companies. But this holds true so long as competing self-employed cleaner's remain out of the suicide cleanup market under consideration. Given more than one self-employed cleaner company bidding on a suicide cleanup job, prices will dive steeply and quickly, depending on individual's needs.
This leads to an important point for the entire field of suicide cleanup, needs versus wants. For those companies getting what they "want," we must assume many have direct ties to local government employees for leads. For those companies charging what they need to keep going, we find a stressed, but open free market with a tendency to favor the more fit companies.
I clean in many places and have done so for years. My fees remain fair and reasonable, but these days I limit my travels to clean. I know of only a few cleaners with philosophies similar to mine, so I choose not to refer to many states. Comparison shopping and asking pertinent question should lead to a fair price and decent service.
Suicide occurs for these reasons. Loneliness; divorce, loss of family; depression, anxiety, unemployment, alcoholism and drug addiction, pain
Suicide cleanup technicians often have some sort of introduction to suicide cleanup as well as other types of biohazard cleanup. OSHA bloodborne pathogen training is the key requirement. Suicide cleanup technicians must remain available for work 24/7/365 in many companies.
A suicide cleanup technician must remain awake and alert for prolonged periods of time. A driver's license, strong back, and an ability to life and move large objects remains an on-going requirement. Most technicians earn a small fraction of their employer's gross income.
My philosophy for suicide cleanup has a pragmatic core. This means disinfecting, removal, disinfecting, cleaning, disinfecting, and then sealing areas directs my efforts. Because this approach works I continue using it.
I believe that blood soaked materials pose a health hazard to the residents where I work and the public if and when these materials leave a residence. As a result I alter, destroy, or seal blood soaked materials. I do my best to expose the public to blood soaked materials.
I dislike writing about coroner corruption in suicide cleanup. Oddly, it's the one subject that I must write about. Not just for myself, but for a public defrauded by coroner's employees. My life could change in an instant and I'd still write about coroner corruption.
Coroner corruption is not an obsession with me by any means. It's a matter of knowing something wrong occurs daily. It's a matter of knowing hurt, innocent people cheated by their own local government have no voice. I am their voice. As a result my web pages include Orange County Consumer Fraud, Orange County Cronyism, and a few other pages devoted to Orange County Corruption.
In a few areas of the United States I know a few responsible, respectful cleaners. These cleaners charge a reasonable fee. They clean well. They dispose of biowaste responsibly.
I charge $50 to refer callers to these cleaners. Cleaners pay me my $50 once they've been paid. Even though they must pay out a referral fee, they still charge less than their competitors.
I believe my referral fee for marketing costs serve all involved. Unfortunately, my experience with a large number of crime scene cleanup companies has not been positive. I distrust most company owners in this field of work.
Let's say for the sake of argument that you grew a crime scene cleanup company in Orange County, California, your home county. After a couple years your experience indicates that your county's government has crony employees in the coroner and administrator's offices, death's administrators for your county.
Meanwhile, your business does poorly, although you work hard night and day. You spend tens of thousands of dollars marketing.
You treat others as you would have them treat you. You grow older and realize that you have started your last decade. Now you begin to think more about Orange County's coroner's employee abuse of crime scene and suicide victim's families, the tax payers. The public good now means more to you than words in a big book. You understand that a good life has as much value as the good you place into life.
Now you enjoin the fight against corruption in local government as if you received this mission from God. But how do you know about corruption in your local government? How do you know your not on a mission for a demon? A la René Descartes.
You must decide whose side you are on from these facts:
Let's say that over the course of 6 years something like the following occurs.
Your county coroner's office assures you that their employees "never" give the public referrals to crime scene cleanup companies.
You advertise in the Yellow Pages.
You build hundreds of web pages and for most of 6 years you dominate the highest and near highest ranking (organic) web sites. Your web pages grow.
During these six years you clean fewer than twenty death scenes, total, in Orange County, California, and most of these came your first two years
Orange County crime scene cleanup calls that do reach you do so on New Year's Eve and Christmas.
On one July weekend you receive two calls referred by the coroner's office within 24 hours. No more calls follow in this manner. You are perplexed.
Somehow over the years you receive five times as many crime scene cleanup calls from Sacramento county, nearly 400 miles away; calls come from around the country. In fact, you receive more telephone calls from Miami Beach, Florida for crime scene cleanup services to clean after homicides and suicides than from Orange County.
During these years you have conversations and read email about crime scene cleanup business in Orange County, California.
A competitor claims that he observed a county administrator congratulate a sheriff's employee after this employee received numerous county employee referrals. Your competitor then sends you and the coroner's department a letter as a testimonial to his observations. Your friendly competitor must go out of business because of cronyism in Orange County.
Orange County's corruption hurts your feelings and sense of justice because you expected better from your so-called "free country."
Then a newly arrived cleaning company's spokesperson assures that he has contacts in the coroners office and will have no trouble receiving referrals from the coroner's office. It happens that you literally were called to help clean with this person that you earlier befriended, unaware that you were to take part in growing corruption in Orange County. It happens that you refused to break a county administration seal on the death scene door.
Now you know about corruption in the coroner's office.
An Orange County Sheriff's Deputy, lady, calls you and seeks business advice as well as training information for her daughter. You ask, "But how will she find work?", to paraphrase. The deputy exclaims, "Well, I know people in the coroner's office," to paraphrase.
Over the years you receive one or two jobs in Orange County cleaning after suicides and unattended deaths. You never receive multiple death scene referrals from your hundreds of web pages or the yellow pages.
Over the years numerous murder-suicides and numerous homicides take place in single homes and apartments throughout Orange County. You never receive a call to clean any of dozens of multiple death scenes; yet your prices remain dirt cheap.
Repeated, but well spaced, telephone calls to the coroner's office produce different explanations about the coroner's referrals.
At first employees claim 3 telephone numbers for specified area codes are handed out to the public to choose a company. This helps to explain why you received work the first couple years, then so few later.
Later, the deputy coroner swears the above never happened, and that coroner's employees never give referrals to crime scene cleanup companies.
Your wife makes similar calls and receives different answers.
You receive a job cleaning after an unattended death within 4 miles of your home in Orange County, September 28, your wedding anniversary. The caller states that a coroner's employee gave him a competitor's telephone number. The competitor wanted much more than he, the caller, could afford. So he found you on Internet, of course you.
Your efforts are in vain and you now understand that cronyism will remain and grow in Orange County, California. Your suspicions of creeping fascism are no longer suspect. You now have reasonable suspicion to believe that you live in a fascist county.
You know there's more to this story than you can remember. After all, you know that you're not paranoid. You know that your wife witnessed your experiences over the years. You know that others give feedback to the affirmative.
You learned long ago through many hours of reading and study that Fascism is the imposition of capital through government manipulation and force. Now you know that Orange County's government has fascist elements in its death administration offices. You reasonably suspect that the cronyism, fascism, goes to the top.
You know now whose side you are on; you're on a mission from God.
For the bereaved and tax payers,
Eddie Evans, Crime Scene Cleanup
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We have less ability to understand what drives suicide and suicide attempts than we had in past centuries. Our live are much more complex. Relationships in the middle-ages remained simple, and in earlier times just as simple. Slaves and serfs became proletariate, working class, and middle class citizens. Vested with full citizenship rights, we've become part of our civil society as well as a consumer society. There's a downside to our upside movement; the corporate state has worked to indoctrinate Americans with a consumer mind set. Citizen duties no longer appear important, and in the face of recent supreme court rulings, its easy to see why. We must expect to see a greater number of suicides in our younger generations.
As it goes, In brief, today, we cannot know or fully describe suicide's causes. We cannot know because of our history and economically conditioned culture, if ever we could know. Our language and symbolism exist over a collapsed knowledge base. Neither can we comprehend how to understand suicide, nor can we overcome post-modern knowledge categories defined by economic conditions. If ever we had the intellectual tools and cultural conditions to understand suicide, we missed that opportunity to dissect and understand suicide.
A time for understanding suicide collapsed as capital became arbiter for contemporary knowledge. This must have occurred as breahes in family and other social structures fractured. If ever we had a shot at understanding suicide and suicidal behavior, then it began after the Enlightenment, and ended with capital's domination of cultural conditions.
Because death as a universal must be similar all over the world, suicides are more-or-less the same all over the world. We can categorize them as horrific, honorable, brave, senseless, whatever else comes to mind. In the end, taking one's own life seems counter-intuitive. Never will we fully describe or understand suicide.
If at any time in our history as a species we had an ability to understand suicide, we missed this opportunity for reasons yet to unravel. Now, in a post-modern world, contemporary knowledge skewed by capital's ideological demands thwarts our full understanding of suicide and suicidal acts. Epistemologically, our lens into human behavior cannot escape our culturally derived definitions of who and what we've become. Knowledge has no social foundation with which to stand and look back upon ourselves. So suicide arises as a cultural product. We can never fully understand it.
Suicide has its biological components, but these are not genetic. Depression, anxiety, psychosis, schizophrenia, and other psychopathologies each has its part in suicidal behavior. In the end, though, a web-like cultural structure through language and significant symbols lead to acting out suicidal ideas and impulses.
Our ignorance about suicide remains as a tear in the fabric of our knowledge. If ever we were to describe suicide and suicidal attempts accurately, that time passed with modern media's arrival accompanied by state sponsorship. Once capital consolidated its hold over commercial media and the state, our "right" to know, to understand and comprehend, passed into culturally controlled knowing. Whatever we may have known no longer remains knowable; our avenue of approach to understanding suicide collapsed with our avenue to understanding our selves.
Understanding suicide as we might know astronomical distances, like the distance between the Earth and Sun, will not be known. That is, science cannot unravel ideologically saturated. Try as we might, in no way, scientific or theologically, can we step out of our cultural web, look back at ourselves, and understand our complex relationships. These relationships, social, economic, religious, and so forth, now find an ideologically produced "knowledge" compliant with capital's neutral, but corrupt command.
Elsewhere I explain that we have no "suicide genes" because of biological development.
Some philosophers recommended suicide as the perfect way to gain freedom from suffering. Others, like Plato, strongly disapproved of it. The Christian church would come to the same position through Saint Aquinas. After Aquinas, suicide became a mortal sin and remains so to many believers.
William James, the great American psychologist and pragmatist (like Dewey and Mead), saw things in the same way, without the sin part, perhaps. For James, religion served to help protect believers from suicide. Another way to look at suicide, which I agree with, is as Immanuel Kant expressed suicide in terms of the categorical imperative. There's a duty as a universal law to behave as if everyone else were to behave in the same manner. Of course we can see where this leads. We would cease existence if everyone were to follow suicidal acts as a preferred form of behavior.
If ever we had a shot at understanding suicide and suicidal behavior, then it began after the Enlightenment, and ended with capital's domination of cultural conditions. See Carolyn Merchant's Death of Nature.
What we do know we know from history and cultural studies. We find how culture's helped to shape individual attitudes about suicide and larger beliefs and values. Attitudes toward life and death, duty, honor, pain and pleasure helped shape attitudes toward suicide.
Classical Greece and Rome's cultural shaping of attitudes toward suicide allowed for suicide, except by slaves. Under some circumstances, like in Rome, falling on one's sword showed a heroic death carried out to suit circumstances. As Christianity arose, suicide became an offense against God; things change and with time and the rise of the Renaissance, suicide became a philosophical issue worthy of critical thinking, even fashionable.
Football fans number in the millions in our United States. Monday night football decreases traffic flow on many city streets as fans watch their favorite teams, favorite players. The Chicago Bear's Dave Dawson had more than his share of loyal fans during his 11 years in the National Football League (NFL). A storing, friendly, brilliant player, Dawson's suicide came as a shock of tragic proportions for both his fans and those new to his name and exploits. Dawson lived the life of a great athlete.
At times, suicide cleanup reveals what went on in the head of a suicide victim their final moments; Dawson's suicide showed similar signs. We have some idea from his suicide scene telling his struggle with a brain injury, a life gone astray for financial reasons, and a life beyond his friends' help. None of this would show up during his Miami suicide cleanup.
A Miami-Dade County auto posy report released by the medical examiner explained this week how this two-time Super Bowl winner came to his end. Keep in mind that Dawson's suicide followed years of big pay checks. Years of successful business deals; then, business collapse in league with his mental collapse. He had suffered numerous assaults on his head and brain during his heroic efforts to win. He paid a dear price.
Dawson's brain may have sulfured injuries not so unlike injuries suffered by soldiers and marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. These injuries against the brain follow a tremendous explosive concussion against frail human bodies not designed for such impacts. Like soldiers and marines, football players have lots of protective equipment protecting their more vulnerable areas, but the head remains a vessel no matter what; inside this vessel the brain's shock-absorbing tissues fail against stunning shocks to its web-like tissue. Unlike soldiers and marines, some athletes like football players and boxers suffer form chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Before long, memory fades as does judgment. Even simple thinking slides into a tough-a-war with scattering thoughts. This injury lead to Dawson's statistical role in Florida suicide cleanup.
Bankruptcy preceded Dawson's suicide. He suffered mightily. Even spelling simple words became a monumental chore. Suicide became an option for this superior athlete and he knew something like a degenerative disease ate away at his mental processes. For such a man, suicide becomes the option rather than facing a life of embarrassing mental failure. Dawson's one-time fame and prowlness gave way to sense of saving his dignity. We shall miss him.
His suicide displayed a pride in his country as he draped an American flag over his bed. Also on his bed were two certificates and medals. If he lacked a life-sustaining drive at the end, he retained his sense of decorum and dignity.
When it comes to suicide cleanup, few practitioners could ask for a more memorable duty.
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