Santa Clarita is a city of fairly new origin in Los Angeles County, having been incorporated in 1987. Santa Clarita has a population that is reaching 200,000 and is what is sometimes referred to as a “boomburb.” A boomburb is a rapidly growing city that retains the attributes of a suburban community even as it reaches population levels commonly associated with urban centers. The city has garnered some unexpected attention in the past two years as the result of the hit Netflix show, The Santa Clarita Diet. The comedy is a darkly comedic take on zombies in the suburbs.
As is the case with any community in Southern California, amidst all of the good attributes of a community, there are also challenging, sad situations that arise from time to time. These include an array of situations involving different types of biohazards, including:
- Rat droppings and rodent infestation
- Homeless encampment
- Animal hoarding
- Unattended death
Overview of Biohazard Cleanup: Keeping Your Family Safe
Biohazard cleanup is both a necessary and dangerous process. The safety and welfare of the residents of a home depend on comprehensive biohazard remediation. Noting this reality, the process of biohazard cleanup up can expose a person to very real, and even fatal, the danger for which a layperson is not adequately prepared.
Special personal protective equipment exists for professionals involved in biohazard cleanup. This is equipment that is not necessarily available “off the rack.” It is specially designed for women and men to engage in professional biohazard remediation. This specially designed equipment includes:
- Masks or respirators
- Uniforms, aprons, or smocks
In addition to the utilization of personal protective gear, a comprehensive process is utilized to undertake a Santa Clarita biohazard cleanup. This typically is undertaken through a four-phase process:
- Actual cleanup of the scene
The ultimate objective of full-scale biohazard remediation is to restore the premises to a fully livable or usable condition. In the end, no evidence of the biohazard contamination should exist. That includes the elimination of waste and debris, the eradication of harmful pathogens, and the obliteration of any odors.
Addressing the Grim Task of Suicide Cleanup
Over a two-day period in Santa Clarita in May 2018, two people took their lives in Santa Clarita. The overall suicide rate in the city is about 25 cases a year. There are dozens of attempts and hundreds of people in the community that have suicidal ideations during any given year. In one case, the man who took his life showed no signs of trauma and utilized what can best be described as a “non-violent” means to take his life. In the other case, the man slit his own throat as a means of ending his life.
The case of the man who used a knife to take is life occurred in a place of business, in a Santa Clarita warehouse. The case exemplifies the type of suicide that occurs in homes and businesses each year which give rise to the need for professional suicide cleanup by a company like Eco Bear.
On many levels, nothing is more traumatic than being left in the position of a survivor of suicide loss. The emotional toll a person faces when a loved one takes his or her own life can seem insurmountable. Facing the prospect of dealing with cleaning up the aftermath of a particularly violent suicide can feel like a truly overwhelming prospect. Indeed, grief and bereavement professionals are clear in advising that a survivor of suicide loss should not embark on the task of suicide cleanup because of the additional grievous impact doing so can have on a person’s emotional and mental wellbeing.
When a suicide by any means occurs in a residence (or place of business), the first step is to call the Santa Clarita Police & Sheriff’s Substation by calling 911. Sheriffs deputies and other emergency personnel will be dispatched to the scene immediately. During that process, people are advised to stay out of the scene of the suicide, unless the administration of first aid remains a viable option. Otherwise, the scene should be vacated for two primary reasons:
- First, law enforcement will want the scene to be as undisturbed as possible. As a matter of legal routine, law enforcement needs to rule out foul play.
- Second, blood, bodily fluids, and other biological material can contain what are known as harmful pathogens. Pathogens include viruses and bacteria that can infect a human being, resulting in serious and even fatal disease.
The Los Angeles County Coroner will also be dispatched to the suicide scene. The coroner’s staff will participate in the on-site investigation with sheriff deputies at the scene. The coroner will also transport the remains of the deceased person for further forensic examination and a possible autopsy.
Only when the sheriff and coroner have finished their on-site investigation will the residence be released to the family of the person who took his or her life. These officials are not charged to undertake any appreciable biohazard cleanup in Santa Clarita at the scene of a suicide or other violent death.
While the on-site investigation is ongoing, the family of a victim of suicide can take immediate steps to contact a qualified Santa Clarita biohazard cleanup professional to begin the remediation process directly after the scene of the death is released back to the homeowner and family. An experienced, skilled, and compassionate Santa Clarita biohazard remediation specialist can be at the scene of a suicide or other type of traumatic death on an emergency basis. The reality is that the cleanup and remediation process should start as soon as possible in order to protect the property and keep people safe.
There are Santa Clarita grief therapists that stand ready to assist survivors of suicide loss. These professionals can assist a person in accessing a grief support group, including one specifically organized for Santa Clarita survivors of suicide loss. They can also arrange for individual counseling and other therapeutic modalities as needed. Santa Clarita grief therapists include:
Soleil Lunar Psychotherapy
25000 Avenue Stanford
Santa Clarita, California 91355
The Center for Tranquility and Restoration
23502 Lyons Avenue
Santa Clarita, California 91321
Better Life Therapy
28494 Westinghouse Place
Santa Clarita, California 91355
There are a number of therapists in the city that assist people suffering from suicidal ideation. These professionals are listed in this Santa Clarita Suicide Prevention Directory. In addition, Survivors of Suicide provides an array of resources to residents of Santa Clarita who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. The Santa Clarita Guide provides information about a wide range of mental health services in the community, including grief support.
Taking on the Rats: Rat Droppings Cleanup
A rat infestation can destroy the structure of your home. Rat droppings? They have the potential to kill you.
Rat droppings can contain any one of a number of serious, and even potentially fatal, viruses. These include the highly dangerous hantavirus. Another reality associated with rat droppings is that when even the best-intentioned homeowner makes an attempt to clean them up, he or she may very well make the situation worse and far more dangerous. Disturbing rat droppings without proper personal protective equipment, including a respirator, can stir up dust that ends up being inhaled. This process can cause a serious, and potentially fatal, infection.
One of the serious and potentially fatal pathogens that can be found in rat droppings is what is known as the hantavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unlike many other viruses, the hantavirus is capable of living outside of a living host for an extended period of time. Contained in rat droppings, the hantavirus exists even after the feces dry out. In fact, the hantavirus becomes potentially more dangerous when rat droppings are dry.
Dry rat droppings crumble easily. When that happens, feces dust is generated and becomes airborne. The airborne particles can carry the highly dangerous hantavirus.
Also unlike many viruses, the hantavirus can be contracted through inhalation. If that occurs, an infected person can end up afflicted with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. The mortality rate for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is more than 30 percent, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Because rat droppings can be contaminated with a variety of hazardous pathogens, engaging the services of a Santa Clarita biohazard cleanup specialist is highly recommended. Engaging the immediate assistance of a professional with a background in rat dropping cleanup is the surest way to remediate a problem and maintain optimal safety at the same time.
The Untold Dangers of Unattended Death Cleanup
Every month in Santa Clarita, at least one – and oftentimes more than one – unattended death is discovered. An unattended death is one in which an individual dies and his or her remains are not discovered for days, weeks, or months. During that time period, the decomposition process is underway, which results in the release of an array of different types of biohazardous materials. These can include a number of different types of bloodborne pathogens as well as harmful agents contained in gases that discharge from a body during the decomposition process.
Understandably, many people do not know the specific elements of the human decomposition process and the inherent danger of exposure to a decomposing body. The human decomposition process begins the moment a person dies. The human body contains a formidable amount of bacteria – what oftentimes is referred to as “good bacteria.” A considerable amount of that bacteria is located in the pancreas and intestines of a living person.
Upon death, blood stops flowing and bacteria are deprived of their food supply. As a result, bacteria commence feeding on the body itself, which starts the human decomposition process. Within a couple of days, bacteria will have completely break down these organs. When that happens, bacteria explode throughout the body, attacking it from head to toes. In other words, decomposition becomes obvious and dangerous.
In addition to the physical dangers that can be presented by exposure to an unattended death, there are emotional considerations that come into play as well. More often than not, it falls upon a surviving family to address the aftermath of an unattended death. A person in that situation already faces a challenging bereavement process. Adding to the level of grief by directly becoming involved in cleaning up after such a death only adds to the emotional challenges a person faces in that type of situation.
When a body is discovered, the first step to take to get away from the immediate scene to protect your health and then to call 911. The police or sheriff and the county coroner are involved in the aftermath and investigation of an unattended death. The Santa Clarita Police Department and the local sheriff station are located at:
23740 Magic Mountain Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
If you find yourself facing any one of these biohazards, or a similar type of situation (including homeless encampment cleanup, homicide cleanup, or violent crime cleanup), the family-owned Eco Bear is ready to serve. We completely understand how difficult a biohazard cleanup can be for you. In addition to the real physical danger associated with a biohazard, there is also a sometimes a virtually overwhelming emotional element as well. Our team is committed to protecting your physical and emotional wellness when it comes to biohazard remediation at your residence or place of business.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Turner.