Is It Necessary To Hire A Forensic Cleaner After A Death In Australia?
Death is rarely ever expected, and when a death occurs, there’s a lot to think about for the friends or family left behind. One major consideration that many people do not think about until they are faced with the situation is whether or not it is necessary to hire a forensic cleaner after a death in Australia.
In this article, we will explain exactly what happens to a body after death, and why a forensic cleaner is absolutely essential when cleaning the scene of the death.
What Happens After A Death?
As soon as an individual dies, their body begins to decompose. In cases where the corpse is discovered immediately or soon after death – with no blood or other biological matter left behind – it might not be necessary to hire a forensic cleaner, as the body has barely begun to decompose.
In cases of a suicide, homicide, or any other death which involved the spillage of blood and other biological matter, a forensic cleaner is highly advised, as it can be difficult to thoroughly clean up the blood on your own.
For cases of unattended death – in which the body is not discovered until some significant time has passed after the death – the need for a forensic cleaner is vital. These situations are commonly observed with elderly individuals who live on their own (permanently or temporarily).
In other cases, unattended deaths are seen when an individual is living on their own for a short period of time, away from their families or friends, and is involved in a homicide or suicide. These are the situations in which decomposition is an issue.
Four Stages Of Decomposition
Body decomposition is a huge issue with unattended deaths, as the more time passes before the body is discovered, the longer the body can decompose. There are four stages of body decomposition. These are:
Also known as the “fresh” stage, self-digestion begins as soon as an individual dies. With a lack of respiration and blood circulation, oxygen stops traveling through and into the body, and digestion processes stop. The body becomes acidic due to the build-up of carbon dioxide, leading to the death of cell membranes. As these cell membranes die, they release enzymes that “self-digest”, or consume the cells.
This is the stage in which the body experiences death stiffness, or pallor mortis (approximately 3-6 hours in). Blisters will appear around the body, which will slowly pop, giving the body a kind of sheen and sliminess.
The second stage is known as the bloat stage, and is most distinctly characterized by the absurd bloating of the body, doubling in size. This is due to the gases produced by the leaked enzymes, which also leads to skin discoloration.
This is also the stage where you can expect a corpse to attract insects due to the chemicals and the odours produced by the bacteria and other microorganisms (this smell is known as putrefaction). It is usually upon putrefaction that an unattended death is discovered.
The messiest stage, the third stage of decomposition or active decay involves the disintegration of most of the corpse’s mass. The body’s internal soft tissues and organs begin to liquefy, with the internal fluids coming out through the body’s various orifices. Maggots will eat the body during this stage.
Most unattended deaths are discovered prior to the fourth stage, or skeletonization. This stage occurs when the entirety of the corpse’s remaining internal tissues and organs have decayed. The time it takes for a corpse to reach this stage depends on various factors, including the temperature, water, air, and the ratio of organic and inorganic components in the body.
How A Forensic Cleaner Can Help
Whether you are dealing with a long-time unattended death with a liquefied and rotting body, or a recent death with remains of blood and other biological matter, calling a forensic cleaner should absolutely be your top priority. Unlike a general cleaner (or cleaning it yourself), a forensic cleaner offers various benefits, such as:
- Psychological training and experience: Cleaning up the scene of a death is never easy, especially if it’s the body of someone you knew. Forensic cleaners have the years of training and experience to clean these scenes without carrying any psychological or mental trauma that other cleaners or yourself may experience.
- The right equipment and practices: Forensic cleaners have cleaned hundreds if not thousands of death scenes, and are equipped with the proper cleaning chemicals, cleaning tools, and cleaning practices to make sure that your home is safe and ready for normal living. You risk contamination and other blood-borne diseases by leaving the task in the hands of an amateur.
- Legal issues: Whenever a death occurs, the scene becomes a place of police interest. You do not want to risk doing anything that might put you or your family in trouble. With a forensic cleaner on your team, you can leave the police communication to them, making sure they clean the situation without breaking any laws or protocols.
NTCSC: Australia’s Top Crime Scene And Forensic Cleaning Team
If you are looking for a specialist forensic cleaner in Australia, call National Trauma & Crime Scene Cleaning or NTCSC today, where we provide top-level trauma cleaning services nationwide.