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Do and Don’ts When Choosing Crime Scene Cleanup Companies?

Do and Don’ts  When Choosing Crime Scene Cleanup Companies?

You don’t want to think that it would happen to you, but you could be the victim of a crime. If the crime is serious enough, you will need to hire a crime scene cleanup company. The crime could be simply that someone threw a brick through your window and left glass in your rugs, on your floors and in your furniture. This is a crime scene that needs cleaning up, but it doesn’t require much. A carpet cleaning company can do the work. However, crime scene cleanup can be as complicated as someone shot or beaten in your home or office. This type of crime scene cleanup deals with bodily fluids and hazardous waste. You need a special company to answer this call.

Because this is not something you normally require, you need to have advice on how to choose the right company. Here are some dos and don’ts regarding crime scene cleanup companies.

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Dos:

  • Look at the crime location. You will be able to determine whether you need to hire a cleanup crew. Without the hazardous materials, you probably can avoid the additional expense.
  • Ask the police. The officers probably work with a couple of companies and can give you the names of companies they recommend. The companies regularly get hired for this type of work by the police officers. And, the industry has a limited number of competitors.
  • Request certification. To be a crime scene cleanup company, the firm has to do certain things to be licensed and certified. If you see the certification, you know you are getting a company that works efficiently and well. You also know they will follow regulations and bring the right materials for the job.
  • Get the certified crew. When you have a situation that involves, human or animal waste, blood, body fluids, chemicals, and acids, you have to have a trained crew doing the work. Otherwise, you will not get the place safe to inhabit. Also, the crew will be trained in dealing with those type of wastes. Certified crew know all the regulations, including federal regulations dealing with hazardous waste.
  • Research. Don’t pick the first one. Read about the company in question. Find out what others, such as public personnel, have to say about the company. Learn their methods before they come to your door.
  • Stay somewhere else. If the cleanup needs to be done at your home, you probably shouldn’t stay in the house until the cleanup crew gets it habitable again. If the crime happened at your office, you might want to work from home or somewhere else for a few days.

Don’ts:

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  • Treat your crew like a maid. Crime scene cleanup companies are there to take care of the hazardous materials, not clean your bathrooms unless the crime happened there. Cleanup crews will be efficient when dealing with the location of the crime, but they aren’t meant to venture into other parts of the home or office.
  • Hire Molly Maids. Regular cleaning companies do not know how to handle hazardous wastes. They don’t know the federal and state regulations regarding cleanup and disposal of wastes. They also are not certified to clean these wastes. However, you can call a regular cleaning service is the situation does not involve hazardous wastes.
  • Pick a company that does cleaning on the side. For the reasons stated earlier, this is not a good way to go when finding cleanup companies. They must be certified. A certified hazardous materials crime scene crew will get out all of the material without leaving any of the material behind. Some crime scene clean up crews do not take care when cleaning your space. They might use only bleach, which would not follow regulations.
  • Do it yourself. Besides the pathogens involved in body fluids and blood, you would not know the regulations. You would be too traumatized. And, you would not have the specialized equipment. Again, you would not know how to handle hazardous wastes and be certified to deal with such materials. You may miss many spots you don’t see and aren’t trained to look. You may also end up throwing out materials that won’t need to be thrown out if properly cleaned.

Featured photo credit: Investigation-Sourcing & Technology Crime via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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