What we do and why
we are needed;
Blood Sisters: Our Story
In 2000 CRIME SCENE & TRAUMA CLEANUP was started in South Africa, by two sisters, Eileen de Jager and Roelien Schutte. They became known as the Bloedsusters (Blood Sisters). Specializing in the removal of blood, bodily fluids, human tissue, and hazardous substances.
Crime Scene Clean-up is the leading brand in their field.
Crime Scene Clean Up focus on the cleaning and management of a particular area after a traumatic or violent incident.
The Mission of our specialized teams is to ease the trauma caused by unwanted elements in our daily society. Our task is to handle each site with a gentle understanding and humane touch.
We specialize in the clean-up of any crime or trauma scene, for example:
• Accidental Death
• Gross Filth
• Fire & Flood Remediation
• Industrial Accidents
• Finger Print Dust Removal
• Vehicle Clean Up,
– Or any related incidents in and around the home, workplace, motor vehicles or grounds.
Our Specialised teams commences with the ‘clean up’ exercise once the South African Police Services concluded their investigation. It is also common knowledge that after such an incident people might not have the courage to do the cleaning up themselves. But apart from the emotional factor, it could be extremely dangerous to be involved with the clean-up of the scene for reasons such as infectious blood borne pathogens & bodily fluid, i.e. Hepatitis, Herpes, Ecoli, Hanta Virus & Corona Virus.
Violence can leave a trail of destruction when least expected, therefor proper decontamination and bio-recovery of each crime or trauma scene should be exercised to restore the area to a healthy and safe place.
What we do
Crime scene clean-up is a term applied to forensic clean-up of blood, bodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). It is also referred to as biohazard remediation, and forensic clean-up, because crime scenes are only a portion of the situations in which biohazard cleaning is needed. Incidents which may require this type of clean-up include accidents, suicide (or attempted suicide), homicides, and decomposition after unattended death, as well as mass trauma, industrial accidents, infectious disease contamination, animal biohazard contamination (e.g. faeces, blood & Aldi-Carb Poisoning) or regulated waste transport, treatment, and disposal.
Crime scene clean-up as a profession has been featured sporadically in popular culture and the media. It first showed up in films when Quentin Tarantino produced Curdled, then after an eleven-year hiatus in the Samuel L. Jackson film Cleaner, and more recently when Amy Adams and Emily Blunt teamed up for Sunshine Cleaning. On television it has been featured in a smattering of documentaries aired on the National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Channel, as well as reality series such as Grim Sweepers. Bloedsusters is the name of a local reality show that premiered in 2017 which featured our very own Bloedsusters, Eileen De Jager and Roelien Schutte on VIA.
Why is our services needed?
The general public is under the impression that the Police or other official institutions are responsible for cleaning the aftermath of crime and/or scenes of death. This is NOT true. That is why professionals like us exist – To lessen your burden when you need it.
Blood Borne Pathogens are pathogenic micro-organisms present in human blood that can cause disease. This disease may be transmitted through any contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. In addition to the infection that can result from blood borne pathogens, any bodily fluid that remains on the floor, carpets, base boards or walls can lead to mould, bacteria and fungus, which can cause sickness months or years later. We use personal protective equipment, special chemicals and good work practice controls to protect ourselves from bloodborne pathogens. Never put yourself or your family at risk. Always use professionals that have been trained to handle biohazard material. We are the leaders in our field for a reason.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.
Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person. Don’t submit yourself or your family to additional trauma let trained professionals help you. Don’t take the risk.
Some unknown facts about Crime/Trauma Scene Cleaners in South Africa:
It’s a profession that few people realize exists—until tragedy strikes, and suddenly they have to deal with the unimaginable. That’s when they call a select group of iron-stomached, steel-nerved workers known as trauma scene restoration specialists, biohazard remediation technicians, or simply crime scene cleaners. Being able to compartmentalize in your mind, to stay focused on the task, to have integrity … all of those are attributes we believe, makes us the suitable, compassionate person to assist the grieving family with this horror. We treat every scene with utmost respect and discretion.
Until a few decades ago, the task of cleaning up after a loved one died fell to family and friends, potentially adding trauma on top of an already terrible event. In 2000 CRIME SCENE CLEANUP was started in SA, by two sisters, Eileen de Jager and Roelien Schutte. They became known as the Bloedsusters (Blood Sisters). Specializing in the removal of blood, fluids, human tissue, and hazardous substances.
THEY AREN’T LIMITED TO CRIME SCENES.
The phrase crime scene clean-up brings to mind police tape and furrow-browed detectives. In reality, only a fraction of the calls we receive—which can come from family members, property managers, hotel owners, or anyone with a dead body on their property—are the result of a major crime. Unattended natural death (a person who dies alone and isn’t discovered quickly) and suicide are the most common scenarios.
We also deal other kinds of bio-hazard removal, whether that’s removing tear gas from a property after it’s been used by law enforcement or getting rid of meth labs. We also clean up hoarding situations and decontaminate homes, vehicles, food processing factories, restaurants, schools etc, after viral or bacterial incidents—think MRSA or hepatitis outbreaks.
TRAINING MIGHT INVOLVE PIG BLOOD.
All Crime Scene Clean-up technicians get extensive training and are certified. During training we stage crime scenes using organic and non-organic types of fake blood: stage blood, pig blood, all different types. Crime Scene Clean-up provides a Certificate of Clearance, once a scene had been sanitized.
THE DEATH SCENE CAN SPREAD BEYOND THE BODY.
All of our scenes are chaotic, and there are many things to do. For example, in a decomposition [when a body has been left undiscovered for a long period], you’ve got strong odours and you’ve got all their personal property, which now have absorbed the strong odours. The work becomes a matter of peeling the layers of contamination—bedding and linens, furniture, carpeting, floorboards, subfloor or concrete slab. Much of the contamination is invisible to the untrained person. What is visible to the eye (say, a small bloodstain on a carpet) may actually indicate a large pool underneath.
THE CLEANING PRODUCTS ARE NEXT-LEVEL.
As expected, cleaning up the blood, fluids, and tissue left in the wake of a violent death or long-undiscovered decomposition takes more than bleach and elbow grease. The first step is detection of every spot, splatter, or shard. Chemicals, containing enzymes, bleach, peroxide, or combinations, thereof, is used to decontaminate and sanitise. Other tools like hammers, saws, crowbars are also used to get to the bio-materials. Often technicians have to dismantle furniture, break up floor boards, tiles etc to get to offending materials.
MITIGATE THE SMELL.
There’s nothing like the smell of death! And while some techs get used to the odour, when a body had been undiscovered for a period of time, in moist air, you walk in and breathe that smell – it is going to be a long day. Every technician wears personal protective equipment, to guard against blood- and air-borne pathogens. Special filters, deodorizers and cleaning chemicals are used to clean the air.
That is because cats could mean cat pee. To rid a property of the cat-urine smell, we have to pull up floors or walls and make physical contact with the cat urine because it crystallizes. Cat spray is the hardest odour to remove.
STRESS AND ANXIETY LEVELS ARE PRETTY HIGH.
Even the toughest clean-up doesn’t compare to the emotional stress of working with grieving families or glimpsing the violence people inflict upon each other. The psychological impact can be quite high and most technicians undergo continuous psychological counselling. Experienced techs and owners talk about the importance of separating their work and home lives, but not everyone is gifted with the ability to disengage. When children are involved, its worse.
TECHS OFTEN FUNCTION AS COUNSELORS …
Because everyone deals with grief differently, a crime scene clean-up tech has to be prepared for every kind of human interaction. Usually, that might mean listening to detailed accounts of the deceased or protecting customers from seeing the scene. Sometimes we have to give them a hug and let them know that we’re there to help. We understand their situation and let them know that time heals. This is part of the healing process as well.
THEY MIGHT BLAST THE RADIO—OR WORK AS QUIETLY AS POSSIBLE.
Techs have to find a way to work amid all that emotion. While on site, that might mean keeping things light among themselves, listening to the radio, joking etc. However, when the family is on the premises, every care is taken to be quiet and subdued.
CLEAN-UPS MAY BE CLAIMED FROM INSURANCE
Based on region, type of clean-up, duration and number of technicians, a clean-up can be very costly. Not only does the scene needs cleaning, but it may require replacing furniture, equipment, removal of carpets, the breaking up of built in cupboards, walls and floors etc. The visible part of the scene is seldom to only part to be cleaned. All insurance companies have their own Terms and Conditions, but will cover most if not all a claim.
THE FACT THAT THEY’RE HELPING PEOPLE MAKES IT WORTHWHILE.
If there was a common trait with crime scene cleaners, it was the immense satisfaction they take from their jobs. Despite the smells, the gore, and the grief, these individuals find great reward in the help they’re able to provide to others in their hour of darkness.