How Compassion Helps Restorers Uncover the Unexpected Rewards of Biohazard Cleanup

In the biohazard cleanup industry, where our services include crime scene and suicide cleanup, hoarding situations, undiscovered deaths, and other moments of unexpected crisis, we frequently meet our clients in the midst of trauma. They are often experiencing a wide range of intense emotions, including shock, grief, guilt, or shame.

The technical expertise and professionalism that biohazard cleanup services provide is critical to helping clients get through their distress. Failing to properly clean a site could trigger more interruptions and potentially hamper the grieving or healing process, so getting the job done right the first time is essential. 

It’s not an easy task. In addition to the emotional demands of the job, our industry comes with significant physical stress as well. Biohazard cleaning professionals deal with toxic substances, human and animal waste, blood, sewage, and other materials on a regular basis. 

It doesn’t sound like a job that many people would want to do. 

In addition to technical skills and physical challenges, however, biohazard professionals must act with extraordinary empathy and compassion. The extra care required of us in many situations can take its toll. But if that care is delivered properly and thoughtfully, and if biohazard service businesses prioritize the well-being of team members as well as clients, there are significant and meaningful rewards we can all share. 

Those of us in the industry are proud of the work we do. We understand the impact we have and appreciate the opportunity to help people when they need it the most. We value the satisfaction that comes from doing a tough job that few are willing to take on and helping clients heal. 

Prepare to be Compassionate

The patience, empathy, and compassion our job requires can’t just be instantly generated on the job site. Those values are built into the culture of any successful biohazard cleanup company. 

That starts with being ready. Emergencies don’t always happen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Successful biohazard cleanup teams think and act like first responders. Having technicians on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week, means the company is prepared to respond to any situation that arises, regardless of the day or time.  

Discretion and respect are key elements of successful biohazard company culture as well. Again, you can’t just turn those on when you arrive at a site. It’s important that every member of a team, from leadership down, is trained to respect the space and property of the customers we serve and to be aware of the sensitive nature of many of the situations they encounter. Accountability is equally important; in the rare case a team member fails to demonstrate appropriate respect, management and leadership must be ready to take swift action to correct the situation. Having thoughtful, concrete steps in place ahead of time can provide clarity and help alleviate any tension with the client. 

Technicians must always be prepared to do the job and help the client through each step of the process. That can be difficult if you find yourself in a situation you’ve never seen before. It helps to spend time preparing for all the possibilities and devising general principles to help guide decision-making in difficult circumstances. 

Ultimately, the respectful, compassionate service required in this industry must be based on a foundation of expertise and in-depth training. Professional delivery of technical services provides a base for the discretion and care each situation demands. In addition to unmarked vehicles and designated protocols to keep equipment and work areas out of public view, companies should closely monitor licensing, certification, and insurance requirements. 

Companies must also provide service teams with the most current equipment and cleanup solutions as well as extensive ongoing training in the latest methodologies and best practices to ensure responders have the skills necessary to handle any situation professionally. Getting every job done right the first time, quickly and efficiently, is critical for our clients’ satisfaction and peace of mind and relieves any anxiety about neighbors or the media.  

Our jobs serve the wider community, too. Biohazardous materials, bloodborne pathogens and the other potentially harmful substances we deal with can quickly spread beyond the initial site if remediation is delayed or incomplete. Our responsibility extends to anyone who could be impacted by the substances we’re tasked with cleaning.

Unexpected Rewards and Healing

Biohazard cleanup is a tough industry. We see things that most people will never have to encounter firsthand. But the challenges of the job are exactly why it can be such a rewarding career. 

Helping people through difficult times with expertise and skill is something to be proud of. It’s satisfying to know that your job has a meaningful impact on the lives of people who are grieving or traumatized. We provide an essential service that many people are unequipped for and by relieving the burden of cleanup, we help free our clients so they can come together, grieve, and heal. 

That’s why I think the people in this industry are unsung heroes. Many of them are the only reliable and trusted providers of biohazard and cleanup services in their area. They may be the only resource for some of their clients. Meeting and exceeding the needs and expectations of the communities we serve is critical for our mission of helping people through what may be the most difficult time of their lives. 

Danessa Itaya

Danessa Itaya is President of Bio-One®, the most trusted crime and trauma scene cleaning franchise in the United States and part of the Five Star Franchising platform of brands. Itaya has more than 30 years of experience in the franchise industry, including 10 years of national and international leadership experience. She serves on the Women in Franchising Committee of the International Franchise Association and was named one of Entrepreneur’s Top Influential Women in Franchising in 2022. 

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