5 Steps to Take in the Event of Undiscovered Death
Whether you’re a landlord checking on a tenant, a family member concerned about an elderly aunt or uncle, or a roommate back from a long trip, discovering someone that passed away in their homes can be jarring, and the shock can make knowing what to do difficult. Your initial reaction to the situation may put you in danger, so knowing what to do if you find yourself in this predicament is paramount. If you find yourself in this situation, there are 5 crucial steps you need to take to ensure your safety, and the safety of those around you.
Shock can disrupt the thought process of even the most rational people out there, and it may be your first instinct to run to the body (especially that of a loved one) to check on them. If you can tell they are dead (by the smell or in some cases even bodily decay), or they appear dead upon inspection, immediately clear the area. While you probably have no need to fear disrupting a crime scene in the event of an unattended death, especially if it has been a while since the decedent passed, you may have to worry about diseases from the body spreading as gasses and fluids are released.
Immediately contact your local authorities to ensure that the body is properly cared for, and can be assessed to ensure that no diseases or illnesses are lingering that could be dangerous to those in the area. Keep in mind that it may take them a while to prepare the correct equipment and personnel to transport the body, and you may be asked to keep onlookers out of the area, bringing us to step 3.
For many of the same reasons listed in point 1, keeping people out of the location is important until the body can be transferred. If the setting is an apartment complex, it can be difficult to secure the decedent’s home. While broadcasting that there’s a dead body around may backfire and draw some of the more nosy neighbors to see what’s going one, keeping watch and making sure people don’t linger in the area or attempt to enter the room before the area is cleared of the decedent and decontaminated can help keep everyone safe.
If the decedent lives with you or has others living with them, work with those transferring the body out of the apartment to see what the best course of action is for moving residents back into the house or apartment, or having them grab their belongings so they can vacate the home until it is safe to return.
This is where you may want to consider acquiring professional help from a qualified cleaning service like Bio-One of Tucson. Once the body has been removed, any airborne pathogens or sicknesses in any blood that may be left behind (if the decedent passed away after a fall, for instance) could still be contaminated if the team that removed the body didn’t clean up the area around. Even if they did, hiring professional cleaners to clean up after them is still a smart move.
If you don’t have the right training, safety equipment, or cleaning supplies, your attempts to clean could result in you getting incredibly ill, or in the area not being properly decontaminated. Since blood-borne pathogens like Hepatitis A, B, and C can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids such as blood and can survive outside of the body for weeks or months in the right conditions, letting professionals handle decontaminating and disinfecting the area is in your best interest.
Even after being disinfected, odors could linger if it took a while for the decedent to be found, and it’s important to clean the area even further after the pathogens and illnesses have been taken care of. While a professional cleaning service hired to do a full deep-clean could still be beneficial to ensure that the house is returned to normal and there is no possibility of any lingering illness, this last step could be safely handled by any remaining occupants of the house as long as they remember to properly protect themselves as they clean.
If you’ve been put in a position where you’re responsible for ensuring the safety of occupants of a home after an undiscovered death, you need the best cleaning crew in the business to ensure the safety of those remaining in the home. For more information about our undiscovered death cleaning services or to request more information, just visit Bio-One Tucson’s Undiscovered Death service page.