How to clean up after a trauma

A trauma incident challenges the normality of our world like few other events. There are many factors that can contribute to a trauma incident; it may be as the result of an accident, an intentional act or as a result of individual tragedy.

Whatever the reason the aftermath of trauma needs to be handled in the right way.

Over the years ServiceMaster Clean have attended many trauma scenes on behalf of a range of clients who have unexpectedly been presented with a situation that needs to be dealt with effectively.

In the shock and panic that often accompanies trauma it can be easy to overlook both risk & responsibilities. The first responders are invariably circumstantial, people that just happen to close-by at the time, followed by the emergency services. The latter have a significant part to play, but this will not include anything that is left behind at the scene – and certainly not the cleaning process.

Whatever the trauma, the responsibility sits with the property owner, landlord, retailer, hotelier or local authority if the incident takes place in a public space. Once the emergency services have completed their work, cleaning should take place quickly; as part of a business contingency plan it makes sense to identify the organisations that will be able to assist you in a variety of exceptional situations.

Step 1: Isolate the affected area:

The first steps must be to cordon the area off; this reduces the risk of transferring blood borne pathogens. How do you know what contagions are there, you don’t so it’s important that your actions are based on worst case scenario!

Prevent access to the area unless it is entirely essential, if necessary consider how this access will take place and how you will prevent the transfer of contagions.

Step 2: Call a professional:

Although the area may not look overtly dangerous, attempting to clean without the knowledge & understanding of the hazards, appropriate training, the right products and equipment or correct PPE is just increasing the risk.

As an employer, you also have a duty of care for your employees, asking someone who is not trained to deal with the issue would be wrong. We are all human so we react differently to situations, again it would be wrong to place someone in a position that is distressing to them.

Step 3: Being sensitive

The impact of a trauma event can have a profound effect on people, even strangers. Absolute sensitivity is required when dealing with family members, friends or work colleagues.

The ability to provide an solution following a trauma event, especially when emotions are running high, is an important factor in ensuring that the short term & long term risks are managed.

Step 4: Being thorough

A professional trauma clean expert will identify the wider risk of cross contamination. The surface may appear to have been cleaned but the nature of the material, whether absorbent, porous or textured, may contain a residual risk.

Products use by professionals will have a known efficacy with blood borne pathogens and infections and this gives reassurance to the cleaning process. Equally the professional will take a pragmatic view about whether an item can be suitably cleaned and returned to a safe condition or whether it is more appropriate to dispose of an affected item(s).

In attending suicides, often in hotel rooms, we know severed arteries will create visible areas to clean; but we give the entire area methodical attention as not everything can be seen by the naked eye.

There are techniques and equipment that can be deployed to manage airborne pathogens. If suspected then the appropriate PPE would be a mandatory requirement.

Step 5: Disposal of bio-hazards

Disposing of bio-hazards is a specialist job. Understanding what can and cannot be rinsed away in a sink or washed into the watercourse and how to clean equipment used in the clean-up process required specialist knowledge and expertise.  In extreme cases where body parts require disposal, following any crime scene investigation by the Police, collaboration with specialist organisations who carry this work out is necessary.

As a specialised and potentially dangerous service, trauma cleaning is best left to the trained professionals who can ensure everyone involved is kept safe and will remain safe. It is not worth cutting corners on cost to put lives in danger.

Restoration Response shortlisted for FM Awards 2015

Now in their third year, the Tomorrow’s FM Awards recognise the standout products and services across the industry from the last year. ServiceMaster Clean’s Restoration Response service has been NAMED A FINALIST in the top 50 and with your help, could be named winner!

This is what Tomorrow’s FM said about Restoration Response….

In the ever-changing world of facilities management, disaster recovery and business continuity has often been overlooked. By not having a plan of any kind in place can prove fatal should the unforeseen happen.

ServiceMaster Clean’s Restoration Response gives FMs the backing of a company with the capability and resource to help in their hour of need.

From a fire or flood to a specialist cleaning job other companies won’t touch. Restoration Response helps commercial and industrial organisations get back to business fast, without losing revenue or reputation.

Just as importantly, they help prepare clients to plan for the unexpected, minimising or even preventing the effects when things go wrong. The range of services deals with issues including, emergency power; boarding-up; building stabilisation; drying/dehumidification and water extraction; soot, smoke and odour removal; project management and consultation services; reconstruction services, data and document recovery; electronics restoration; antiques and fine art restoration; and sublimation drying.

You can vote for Restoration Response here… Closing date for votes Friday 27th March 2015.

Restoration Response

June 2014 – Making Your Mark – Tomorrow’s Cleaning

Alan Lewin ServiceMaster

Making Your Mark

Alan Lewin, Managing Director of ServiceMaster Clean, emphasises the importance of acting quickly to remove graffiti and restore damaged property…  Click here to read the full article.

Restoration Response

24th March 2014 – Renewable Restoration

Alan Lewin ServiceMaster

Renewable Restoration

Published in Tomorrow’s Cleaning in March 2014: Alan Lewin, Business Development Director of ServiceMaster Clean, outlines how organisations can make their facilities more eco-friendly with renewable restoration.

Commitment to sustainability is permeating the business world globally. At its simplest, sustainability is a case of ensuring that your cleaning provider uses environmentally friendly products… Click here to read the full article.

Restoration Response

14th February 2014 – After the Flood

After the Flood

Anna Riley, director of ServiceMaster Clean Portsmouth and Southampton, explains how businesses have been restored in the aftermath of recent heavy rains.

The last few months have seen UK coastlines battered by storms and thousands of properties flooded as a result of heavy rains. This has caused extensive damage to building structures, both commercial and… Click here to read the full article

Restoration Response


January 2014 – DON’T ADD FUEL TO THE FIRE! As featured in Tommorrow’s Health and Safety.

Alan Lewin, Managing Director of ServiceMaster Clean, explains why swift action is needed to restore buildings damaged by fire.

Fire threats are increasing, according to the Association of British Insurers, with the cost of the average fire claim for commercial fires doubling to £21,000 between 2002 and 2008. Open plan buildings, which allow for a more rapid spread of fire, and the increase in out-of-town developments, where fires can go on unnoticed for longer, are among factors contributing to the doubling of fire costs…. Click here to read the full article.

Restoration Response

Sept-13 – Floorcare in Education

Alan Lewin ServiceMaster

Floorcare in Education – Would Your Floorcare Get an A+?

Alan Lewin, Business Development Director of ServiceMaster Clean, provides advice about improving the lifespan of flooring within educational settings.

After a summer of sleeping in and doing things at their own pace, students up and down the country will be headed back to or starting at schools, colleges and universities all over the country, as the autumn term begins… Click here to read the full article.

Restoration Response

September 2013 – New Best Practice Guidelines for Caring for Floor Coverings

September 2013 – New Best Practice Guidelines for Caring for Floor Coverings Launched By ServiceMaster Clean – As featured in FM News

A free guide to floor care has been launched by specialists in commercial cleaning and disaster  restoration, ServiceMaster Clean.

Figures from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimate that 583,000 tonnes of flooring waste is produced each year, with the majority (71%) being carpet. More than 90% of this waste ends up in landfill, with less than 1% being recycled… Click here to read the full article.

Restoration Response

June 2013 – One in five businesses are affected

June 2013  –  One in five businesses are affected by a major incident each year and could face closure within eighteen months – As featured in FMJ June 2013

Alan Lewin ServiceMaster

Alan Lewin, Business Development Director of ServiceMaster Clean, explains how businesses can restore their property and revenue.

Loss of power or IT systems, dealing with staff shortages, transport disruptions, graffiti or vomit on exterior walls are just some of the issues faced by organisations across the UK… Click here to read the full article

Restoration Response

June 2013 – What is the future of sustainable cleaning?

Alan Lewin ServiceMaster

What is the future of sustainable cleaning?

Published in Tomorrow’s Cleaning in June 2013.

“At ServiceMaster, studies have shown that sustainable buildings, or businesses that go green, achieve measurable financial gains due to employee health, productivity, and staff retention, as well as lower operating costs… Click here to read the full article.