Guide For Crime Scene Biological And Infectious Hazard Clean Up

biohazard-clean-up-remediationProfessional cleaners that deal with trauma clean-up can better market their services by advertising their full compliance with guidelines laid out in the Reference Guide for Trauma and Crime Scene Biological and Infectious Hazard Clean Up. This standard, which can be purchased from the IICRC website, outlines procedures for removing any disease-causing agents that escape into the environment when an individual dies or suffers severe injury.  It also enumerates the many health effects caused by biohazards, necessary equipment professionals require, and the safe transport and disposal of waste materials.

One of the more important points of focus addressed by the standard is that of material and building science
.  Any tissue or bodily fluid is classified as a biohazard per Federal regulations.  Whenever a violent crime occurs within a building, or when a body begins to decompose within its interior, the surrounding building materials become contaminated with a variety of toxic agents.  The Reference Guide for Trauma and Crime Scene Biological and Infectious Hazard Clean Up provides a number of detailed items that cover the removal of these toxins from building materials.  For example, blood stains on the carpet typically soak through the carpet and seep into the flooring beneath.  Effective environmental cleaning not only removes the biohazard from the carpet, but also from its supporting understructure.

Certain tools are required for biohazard removal.  Special equipment, such as protective gear, must also be worn by the removal personnel in order to protect them from the hazardous materials they are using.  It benefits any organization specializing in this type of work to follow the recommended equipment list found in the standard.  Tools that can be reused, along with equipment that is by nature disposable, is clearly defined.  Containers for various types of waste, along with chemicals that help sanitize the environment after cleaning is complete, are also covered in the standard.

The Reference Guide for Trauma and Crime Scene Biological and Infectious Hazard Clean Up also talks about the various health effects associated with different types of incidents.  Diseases such as the Flu, including Type A and H1N1, HIV/AIDS, Type A and B Hepatitis, TB, Cholera, and Salmonella are all diseases that can be transmitted from bodily fluids.  These fluids escape into the environment any time a body decomposes, whether a person commits suicide, is murdered, or suffers some type of tragic, accidental death.

Other aspects of the biohazard removal industry are also covered in the Reference Guide for Trauma and Crime Scene Biological and Infectious Hazard Clean Up.  General safety and health precautions are addressed in the standard.  Administrative procedures that pertain to the execution of various cleanup jobs are also enumerated.  Guidelines for inspection are covered, along with information on when and how to demolish structures that are simply too hazardous to remain standing.  Content removal, transportation, and disposal of contaminants are also covered in the material.

Professionals interested in purchasing the Reference Guide for Trauma and Crime Scene Biological and Infectious Hazard Clean Up can do so online at the IICRC website.  This site also contains information on continuing education, professional certification, and marketing materials that registrants and certified firms can use to solicit their services to their respective communities.


Written By: The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)

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Bloodstain Precautions

Vernon J. Geberth, M.S., M.P.S. author of the textbook, Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, FOURTH EDITION, 2006.

blood-crime-scene-clean-upInvestigators and crime scene technicians need to be cognizant of the potential dangers in handling blood and other biological fluids in the crime scene. The presence of airborne pathogens and other biohazards such as AIDS, hepatitis and hepatitis B, meningitis and even tuberculosis create a potential risk. Investigators should adhere to the following procedures at any crime scene where blood or body fluids are encountered.

The CSI should wear approved disposable gloves while in the crime scene and remain aware that blood and other body fluids may carry diseases. Consider wearing a disposable mask while in crime scenes where airborne communicable diseases such as meningitis or tuberculosis might exist. Wear eye protective and disposable infectious disease gown to protect clothing when exposed to large amounts of blood or other body fluids.

After the investigation is complete, dispose of gloves, masks, and gowns contaminated by blood or body fluids in a biohazard bag and wash hands thoroughly with an antiseptic hand rinse. Before returning to the station, wash hands again with water and a bacterial liquid hand wash, i.e., Bacti-Stat. Restrict the number of investigators on the scene who may come in contact with the scene of the potential infection exposure. Advise any investigators on the scene who may come in contact with the scene of the potential infection exposure.

Decontaminate all equipment used prior to your return to the station. Change clothing contaminated with blood or other body fluids immediately and decontaminate. Dispose of contaminated supplies as recommended in this protocol. Skin provides a very effective barrier for the prevention of infectious diseases. Wash all contact areas as soon as possible after exposure to help prevent contamination. Wounds such as cuts, sores, and breaks in the skin, regardless of the size, provide an entrance for infection into the body and should be properly bandaged. Report all significant exposures to blood or other body fluids within 24 hours of exposure.


Bevel, T and Gardner R., Bloodstain Pattern Analysis with an Introduction to Crime Scene
Reconstruction, 2nd Ed
, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC Inc., 2002
Gardner, Ross M. Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation. Boca Raton, Florida:
CRC Press, LLC Inc., 2004.
James, Stuart et. al. Principles of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Theory and Practice, Boca Raton,
FL: Taylor & Francis CRC Press, 2005.

Practical Information for Immediately After a Loss

Natural Disaster Emergency Response

Written By: US Environmental Protection Agency


Call 911 if you are in immediate danger and need emergency help.

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When Hoarding Becomes Dangerous

by | February 10, 2015

Hoarding behavior demands intervention when it causes clinically significant distress for a person, or impairment in his or her social or occupational functioning. Governmental authorities may step in when the hoarding behavior endangers the health and safety of the hoarder and others in the community.


In front of her office was a gleaming white utility truck, bearing the motto With Respect and Compassion. Kathie Jo Kadziauskas-Hobbs, the principal of AAA Hoarding and Biohazard Removal, headquartered in Camarillo, California, was first called a few years back to deal with complicated hoarding situations, after establishing her reputation as an expert in the crime scene clean-up field.

Ms. Kadziauskas-Hobbs is an aficionado of antiques, folk art, and classic vehicles; she granted an interview in an exotic room, draped by a large multicolored silk kimono on one wall, bearing beautiful oriental paintings on another, and sporting, in a corner, a silver saxophone and an antique barber chair upholstered in wine-colored velvet.

The eclectic Ms. Kadziauskas-Hobbs wants family members to intervene early when they see a loved one begin to exhibit troubling hoarding behavior — preferably at Levels I or II of the Clutter-Hoarding Scale, a widely used home-descriptive scale devised by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) — so that therapeutic counseling or professional in-home help can begin, and Kadziauskas-Hobbs’ services will not be needed.

Level I is an essentially normal domestic situation: clutter in the home is not excessive; all doors, stairways and windows are accessible; the utilities and plumbing are functional; there is appropriate animal control; and household sanitation is safely maintained.

At Level II, housekeeping and maintenance are inconsistent, and a bit of help might be needed from professional home organizers or other professionals who have additional knowledge and understanding of chronic disorganization. Clutter may impede the function of key living areas or block a major exit from the home; one or more appliances or utilities may not be functional for more than a season; there may be visible or malodorous pet waste present in inappropriate places, or perhaps some evidence of insect pests or vermin.

Kadziauskas-Hobbs is not typically called in until the hoarding problem has progressed to Levels III-V of the Clutter-Hoarding Scale:

At Level III, the hoarding situation has progressed such that items normally stored indoors may overflow to clutter the shower, bathtub, or the outside of the home; several appliances may not be fully functional; animal sanitation is clearly inadequate, and the animal population in the home may violate local legal limits; expired medications or hazardous materials may be accumulating in a disordered, cluttered home, perhaps strewn with dirty laundry or smelling from overflowing garbage receptacles.

By Level IV, clutter inhibits access to exits, entrances, hallways and stairs; animal behavior may be destructive and sanitation poor; the smell of mold or mildew or rotting food or backed-up plumbing is striking; there is typically structural deterioration of parts of the home; the dishes are unusable; non-food items may be stored in the refrigerator; the use of other appliances may be inappropriate or even dangerous. There may be no linens on beds. The hoarder may be sleeping on a bare infested mattress, couch, or chair, or on the floor.

A Level V home is extremely cluttered; key living spaces are unusable; all the rooms are used for non-intended purposes; the toilets, sinks and tubs are not functioning, and human urine and excrement are where they do not belong. The structure may be severely damaged, with pervasive mold and/or mildew, moisture or standing water, and is typically heavily infested with insects, spiders, mice, rats, snakes, and other vermin. Any animals in the home are at risk and may be dangerous to people due to the animals’ behavior, ill health, and numbers. At Level V, it is not unusual for the hoarder to be involved in legal proceedings, such as a conservatorship, guardianship, eviction or condemnation proceedings.

If Kadziauskas-Hobbs’ services are retained by the hoarder and his family instead of by third parties or governmental authorities, the hoarder and family can exercise the greatest possible control in the remediation process and protect the hoarder’s ability to stay in his or her home, which are typically their foremost priorities. In a conversation with Kadziauskas-Hobbs before the removal work begins, the hoarder and the family will have an opportunity to instruct her about things of value she should look for and save for them — memorabilia of a dead spouse, family photographs, autograph albums, diaries, or other personal documents. Kadziauskas-Hobbs’ tact in working with the hoarder is one of her most important skills.

If the family neglects the problem, a landlord, Adult Protective Services, or a public administrator or guardian may call Kadziauskas-Hobbs in first; or Code Enforcement may issue an abatement warrant and hire her firm. Then, the hoarder and the family will have far less control. The third party or governmental agency, as the client, will provide the removal instructions, typically with emphasis strictly on the most economical, speediest possible remediation of health and safety code violations, rather than careful searching for, and preservation of, valued personal items.

Kadziauskas-Hobbs recommends to family members that the hoarder not be present when she and her crews are working on-site, in order to prevent additional unnecessary distress to the hoarder. However, sometimes law enforcement has been required to physically restrain a hostile hoarder during the removal work, in situations where the dwelling is subject to a court-ordered abatement warrant.

In California, the Trauma Scene Waste Management Act regulates waste management with respect to large quantities of spilled human blood or body fluids, but the state does not otherwise regulate hoarding and biohazard removal companies, except as to such medical waste, and the conventional rules of occupational safety and health.

Nevertheless, Kadziauskas-Hobbs requires her crews of two to eight individuals to undergo OSHA Blood-borne Pathogens training, to wear full biohazard suits on the job, including masks and disinfectable gloves and boots, and to use the same bacteriocides that crime scene crews do. She and other reputable operators recognize that a hoarding scene often involves biohazards, such as decomposing animal bodies and infectious biomaterials. These materials are too hazardous to be adequately handled with a pair of kitchen gloves and a bucket of bleach, to then be tossed in a dumpster. Her crews are trained to disinfect and dispose of contaminated mattresses, couches, and other large furnishings that medical waste companies will not handle.

As the DSM-5 informs, hoarding behavior can be a symptom of many different medical conditions and mental disorders, such as a brain injury, cerebrovascular disease (e.g. a cerebrovascular dementia), Prader-Willi syndrome-related food hoarding, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Hoarding may be a sign of decreased energy in major depressive disorder, or of delusions in schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder. Cognitive deficits resulting from a major neurocognitive disorder, such as fronto-temporal dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or restricted interests in autism spectrum disorder, can also lead to hoarding behavior.

Since 2013, if none of the aforementioned conditions or disorders applies, then a separate Hoarding Disorder with its own ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM diagnostic codes, can now be applied. This enables a sufferer or his family to potentially access legal help with respect to coverage under mental health care insurance and government benefits, such as state disability and Medicare. The ICD diagnostic codes can also be important in making claims for property insurance benefits. For example, coverage for professional remediation/hoarding removal costs may now be available under provisions of some property insurance policies. In some states, such as California, an elected insurance commissioner is empowered to oversee compliance with such provisions.

Family members need to stay connected and alert to behavioral changes of their loved ones, including unusual collecting behaviors. Many counties and cities in the United States have a Hoarding Task Force, a valuable multi-agency resource to provide public education about hoarding, give out service agency information, offer training, and give support to families.

The nature of the underlying medical condition or mental disorder may lead to characteristic kinds of hoarding. For example, when hoarding is associated with OCD, a specific obsession can lead to collecting of items, such as feces, urine, hair, nails, trash, dead animals, or rotten food. With a major neurocognitive disorder, the onset of hoarding behavior is typically more gradual and may be accompanied by self-neglect and severe domestic squalor, alongside other neuropsychiatric symptoms, e.g. disinhibition, gambling, rituals/stereotypes, tics, and self-injurious behavior.

To Kathie Jo Kadziauskas-Hobbs and her colleagues in the business of hoarding and biohazard removal, advance knowledge of the particular clinical diagnosis may be helpful before they walk into a situation, but it is not for them to make a diagnosis or offer therapeutic counseling.

Kadziauskas-Hobbs often encounters families who know far less about their hoarding family member than she and her crews have discovered from the clues they find on the job site. She learns what the hoarder reads, eats, and wears. In profile, the hoarders Kadziauskas-Hobbs encounters tend to be female, above 50 years of age, surrounded by evidence they are well-educated, well-traveled, and had a professional career. They were interesting people. Then one day something caused the hoarding to start. Families need to be connected and involved with their loved ones, if that day comes.


Schmalisch, C.S. Hoarding and the Legal System. Accessed 3 February 2015.

New York Daily News (October 8, 2012).Las Vegas officials swarm home in ‘very tragic’ hoarding case, Associated Press. Accessed 3 February 2015.

Trauma Scene Waste Management Act, California Health and Safety Code Section 118321 et seq.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

World Health Organization, International Classification of Diseases (ICD),

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM).

Christiana Bratiotis, Hoarding Task Forces,

Image via THPStock / Shutterstock.