Santa Barbara is a bustling city with a population of over 92,000 people, and it is easy to see why people choose to make this their hometown. With easy access to the beach combined with the gorgeous backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, there is both the opportunity to engage in seaside pursuits such as surfing as well as hiking adventures in the wilderness. This city also has a huge tourist industry that attracts people to the many local wineries, shops, and restaurants that line the streets. Whether you choose to make this area your home base or just enjoy the chance to visit, the perpetually sunny skies make it easy to forget that any huge town that is known for its wealth can also have a darker side.

While this area is known as one of the best places to live, Santa Barbara also has one of the highest crime rates in the state of California. Violent crimes, such as assaults and murders, are extremely prevalent among the population, and it is not uncommon for a case of robbery to escalate to a shooting or stabbing incident that leaves the families of the victims scrambling to find out what happened. The higher cost of living has also led to a growing number of homeless people in the area that have begun to set up camps, which further increases the dangers that exist for people spending time in the area such as the spread of diseases due to a lack of access to restroom facilities.

The Darker Side of Santa Barbara

Those who live in Santa Barbara can easily get swept away by the sense of comfort that living in the beauty of the area provides. Yet, it doesn’t take long to remember that every city has a darker side, and Santa Barbara also has a history that includes some of the most shocking violent crimes in our nation’s history. For instance, the Isla Vista killings occurred near the University of California in Santa Barbara when a 22-year-old named Elliot Rodger made the unfortunate decision to stab three men to death in his apartment. He then drove to a sorority house near the campus and shot three women who were outside before continuing on his spree to shoot and wound pedestrians as he drove down the streets. By the end, his violent acts had taken six lives and left 14 people injured.

When talking about violent crimes in the Santa Barbara area, it is impossible to overlook the Golden State Killer. In the beginning, this cold-hearted criminal has deemed the East Area Rapist because he began his streak of crimes by being connected to approximately 45 rape reports in the Sacramento area in the 1970s. Towards the end of the decade, he began to kill his victims, and his killing spree moved to the Santa Barbara area around 1980. In all, the Golden State Killer has been linked to 13 murders and a hundred burglaries in addition to the rape cases. He even became so emboldened that he taunted the police and residents of Santa Barbara with a poem that he sent to the local news reporters. It is believed that he performed his last murder in 1986, but he remains elusive today and authorities think he may still be alive. Despite a renewed search effort, however, he has still not been identified.

Coping in the Aftermath of Violent Crime With Biohazard Cleanup

The majority of violent crimes occur on private property where the cleanup process falls under the responsibility of the owners who may also be family members or closely linked to the victim. Sadly, there is nothing that can prepare a person for the severe destruction that is left behind after a violent crime, and families are often unprepared both physically and emotionally to deal with the aftermath.

Biohazard cleanup in Santa Barbara must be conducted using specialized techniques and equipment that minimizes the risk of spreading disease. Bodily fluids such as blood can carry pathogens that include the following disease concerns:

•HIV

•MRSA

•Hepatitis B and C

•Syphilis

Often, the scene of a violent crime may not be identified for hours or days. During this time, items such as the carpeting, furniture upholstery, and walls may continue to be contaminated as the fluids soak into the porous materials. This often generates a need for deeper professional biohazard cleanings that requires careful attention to make sure that no contaminated materials are left behind.

Professionals in biohazard removal have personal protection equipment such as specially designed suits and gloves that allow them to safely clean up the aftermath of a crime without placing their health in jeopardy. They also undergo training that helps them cope emotionally with the scenes that they witness, and they know how to clean up the scene of a violent crime with compassion that honors the dignity of those who have been victimized and their families.

Guarding Against the Spread of Illness With Feces Cleanup

Human fecal matter contains particulates that can cause serious illness. While most people use the appropriate restroom facilities to handle their bodily functions, property owners sometimes encounter situations where human waste is posing a health risk to the public and private inhabitants of a location. For instance, homeless encampments sometimes generate spaces where those who live there designate to be used for human waste. Unfortunately, the fecal matter that collects in these areas is not only unsightly, but it can also spread bacteria and viruses just like other bodily fluids. Over time, large amounts of human feces can also leach into the surrounding ground and contaminate walking surfaces and water supplies. Feces cleanup is one of the most frequently requested biohazard clean up services provided to property owners in the Santa Barbara area.

Feces cleanup also applies to animal waste. After a pest infestation is eliminated, it is common to need to have the remaining fecal matter cleaned up in a way that reduces the risk of spreading disease. Rodent droppings are especially dangerous since they tend to dry out and crumble, which increases the chances of infections particulates becoming airborne where they can be breathed into the body. This is why feces management requires specialized suits and respirations masks to prevent people from coming into contact with the following types of pathogens.

•Hantavirus

•Rat Bite Fever

•Leptospirosis

•Salmonella

Rodent and other types of animals tend to reproduce quickly, which is why these types of biohazards tend to be expansive. Rats may inhabit attics, spaces between walls and crawlspaces, which further increases the difficulty of doing a thorough cleanup. Biohazard services include inspecting the site of an infestation to make sure that all affected areas are properly cleaned up and sanitized so that the problem does not continue to affect the people who visit the building.

Helping Families With Suicide Cleanup

Out of all of the violent incidents that create biohazards, suicides are the most difficult for families to manage. While in the midst of dealing with painful emotions such as grief and disbelief, a family may also be legally required to begin the process of cleaning up any biohazards that are left behind.

In the United States, suicides may take several different forms such as gunshot wounds or medication overdoses. Since many people choose to commit suicide in an indoor location where they feel safe, it is not uncommon for a family to need to have a vehicle or living area cleaned by professionals in biohazard removal.

Most people are also unprepared to deal with the immediate aftermath of a suicide. In most cases, it is best to leave the room quickly and contact the emergency authorities who can help gather evidence that proves whether or not it was an intentional suicide or a different situation that led to the death such as a violent crime committed by someone else. Leaving the room is not only important to avoid contamination of the crime scene, but it also protects the person who witnessed the scene from exposure to bodily fluids and other biohazard materials that spread disease.

While a person’s first instinct may be to clean up the materials left behind by their deceased loved one, the truth is that this is rarely a good idea for several reasons. First, cleaning up after a suicide is emotionally devastating for someone who is already struggling to cope with a significant loss in their life, and seeing the materials that are left behind could leave long-lasting imprints in the mind that increase the risk of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Second, there are often major safety concerns. Removing biohazards waste and cleaning contaminated surfaces requires specialized cleaning solutions and personal protection equipment. Many procedures must also be conducted in a specific order to minimize safety concerns.

After a suicide in Santa Barbara, do yourself a favor by having someone who is not attached emotionally to the scene do the cleanup. Professional services also ensure that you have a better chance of selling or renting out the property in the future if that is also a concern. Having someone else handle this part of the cleanup process also gives you more time to focus on personal healing. Instead of worrying about potential hazards and dealing with the emotional scars of cleaning up a suicide scene, you can engage in more positive activities such as attending suicide awareness support groups or talking to a professional counselor.

Keeping People Safe With Sharps Cleanup in Santa Barbara

Sharps are any type of device that has medical or therapeutic uses that involve piercing the skin in ways that exposes the risk of exposure to bodily fluids such as blood as well as potential injuries to anyone who handles the waste receptacles. In Santa Barbara, there are laws the regulate how medical facilities and other health care professionals dispose of sharps and it is not uncommon to run into situations where large amounts of sharps have been disposed of improperly. For instance, homeless encampments tend to have hypodermic needles from drug abuse or medical care left out in the open where they increase the chances of diseases such as hepatitis C is spread.

Sharps may also become a biohazard after a major event occurs that damages a facility. For instance, foul weather or a fire could cause a property to become damaged to the point that sharps are left exposed to those who come out to do the cleanup. Beakers, microscope slides, and pipettes are a few potential biohazards that one might encounter while cleaning up a hospital or scientific research facility. The majority of sharps are classified according to the level of potential hazards they carry, and these classifications affect their proper disposal. For instance, non-contaminated sharps must be disposed of in puncture-resistant and leak-proof containers that are designed to minimize the risk of personal injuries.

Contaminated sharps, however, require a different set of protocols. These must be disposed of in rigid containers that are red and are clearly labeled with the biohazard symbol so that anyone who comes in contact knows what may be inside. Keep in mind that cleaning up these materials is especially hazardous since sharps can easily penetrate commonly used personal protective equipment such as latex gloves. Biohazard cleanup services utilize high standards for cleanup that ensure that the process is managed in a way that complies with local laws and protects everyone from the transfer of disease.

Restoring Order With Biohazard in Vehicle Cleanup Services

With ridesharing becoming the most popular form of transportation in Santa Barbara, there has also been an uptick in requests from drivers for vehicle cleanup services. In many cases, this is due to vomiting that happens when a customer gets sick in the back of the car due to alcohol consumption or illness. Many people do not realize that vomit is a biohazard because it can contain pathogens that can transmit illnesses such as the norovirus, salmonella, and hepatitis. Vomit can also contain blood that is not always visible to the naked eye.

Violent crimes also occur in cars or a vehicle may be used to carry a victim with serious injuries to a hospital. Often, even minor injuries can bleed profusely and leave behind a biohazard scene. Blood, urine, feces, and vomit are all dangerous bodily fluids that should never be left in a vehicle, yet your personal protection equipment may not be enough to protect you during the cleanup process. Always arrange for professional biohazard cleanup services when you have any doubt about the potential pathogens that may be lurking in fluids that are left behind in your vehicle.

Finding Help During Difficult Times

Cleaning up biohazards is only the beginning of the process involved in dealing with serious crimes or dangerous incidents. Whether a person is dealing with witnessing a violent crime or struggles with managing public areas that attract homeless populations and drug abusers, there are resources available that make it possible to cope. Be sure to reach out to resources such as grief counselors and sharps disposal locations as needed so that you can continue the process or restoring order after a hazardous incident.

Author

Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services like biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.