When it comes to crime scene cleanup in Los Angeles and Southern California, tear gas cleanups can be some of the most complex situations. The property damage resulting from tear gas can pose a structural maintenance nightmare, second only to drug lab remediation and large-scale abatements such as animal hoarding cleanups.
As crime scene cleanup specialists, we’ve handled our fair share of tear gas cleanups, and it might surprise you to learn just how important is it to hire qualified professionals for the job. Not only is tear gas dangerous for the crew members involved, the complexity of completely eliminating gas residue makes it unusually challenging to remove and is best left to the hazmat experts.
Tear gas is a mucous membrane irritant. It typically is used to subdue subjects by law enforcement, or as a deterrent from attack. Tear gas can be defined by several irritants, including:
• Chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS)
• Chloroacetophenone (CN)
• Dibenzoxazepine (CR)
• Oleoresin Capsicum (OC or pepper spray)
Many people do not realize that the irritants in tear gas can linger long after the canisters are discharged and the subjects have been cleared from the property. Tear gas residue can seep into furniture, carpet and even hardwood floors. Tear gas also spreads through ventilation systems. It can continue to irritate the mucous membranes of anyone residing in or visiting the property long after the initial incident.
Why Is Tear Gas So Destructive To Property?
A tear gas intrusion scene often presents with damaged walls and doors as well as broken windows secondary to forced entry by law enforcement officials. Tear gas canisters often are shot into an enclosed space to subdue a subject, which leads to drywall penetration in both ceilings and walls.
Tear gas residue may contain dyes that stain surfaces such as walls, ceilings and carpeting. Tear gas also leaves a thick harmful residue that easily can reconvert back to a toxic gas which irritates mucous membranes and can cause vomiting. In the worst cases, it even can lead to pulmonary edema or death.
Cleaning up this residue is a labor-intensive process requiring the expertise of hazmat cleanup experts with proper equipment and techniques.
When tear gas is used, canisters are shot from launchers that heat the canisters prior to release to help disperse the gas more effectively. The particles are heavy so they settle eventually, but can move from powder to gas state with heat and water, which makes recontamination very likely with an untrained crime scene cleanup crew.
Law enforcement officials normally use several canisters within a structure in order to subdue a subject or secure a scene. In fact, we have seen incidents where up to a few hundred canisters were used.
Besides the forced entry of breaking down doors or windows, the heavy canisters are often shot into an enclosed space, which leads to significant property damage. Canisters can penetrate walls, ceilings, break mirrors and smash electronics. If there is an intrusion in the drywall, which is common, the residue will adhere inside the walls and coat the studs. Canisters may break through the ceiling and disperse gas in the attic contaminating insulation and exposed beams. This absolutely needs to be addressed by a qualified tear gas cleaning company.
How Does The Process Work?
City officials, law enforcement and insurance adjustors have come to trust The BioClean Team for the most challenging tear gas cleanups. A team ca
n be mobilized for a no-cost and no-obligation estimate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Upon arrival, the estimator will inspect for the following:
• Site safety and containment needs (barrier set up, HVAC, worker and crew safety)
• If any biological material, such as blood and other body fluids is present that could create a biohazard (If there are biohazards, those must first be remediated to prevent further damage from decomposition or viral exposure.)
• How much tear gas residue is present
• If any drywall was punctured by the canisters, leaving the interior wall studs exposed to residue
• If any dyes were incorporated into the gas, which will require additional cleaning measures.
• Obtain photographs for case documentation
Upon approval, technicians will put on OSHA-approved personal protective equipment and set up containment barriers to avoid cross-contamination and further property damage to surrounding businesses or structures.
The technicians then will begin the cleanup process using expert containment, removal and cleaning techniques to carefully and thoroughly wash affected areas, remove affected items and avoid cross-contamination.
How Do You Train Your Technicians?
Aside from the on-site cleanup scenarios that The BioClean Team technicians go through on a daily basis, we have weekly training on hazmat cleanups, containment protocols and control procedures. Technicians are trained and retrained in donning U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-approved encapsulated suits and respirators. Supervisors are onsite at all times to re-enforce containment and cleaning techniques.
All of our technicians are in-house, not subcontractors or workers we have not fully trained nor vetted. Not only does this ensure that all cleanups are thorough, safe and adhering to regulatory guidelines, it keeps the cost down for the customer by avoiding an unnecessarily lengthy cleanup by cross-contamination. Additionally, our owner, a registered nurse, has more than 10 years of experience in biological isolation techniques and hazmat containment.
The BioClean Team works with law enforcement and city abatement officials to remediate both residential and commercial spaces in a safe, efficient and timely manner to mitigate further property damages and to get your space habitable and profitable for you or your business immediately.
The BioClean Team is dedicated to maintaining the highest industry standards while providing professional and compassionate services to those we serve. Whether you need tear gas cleanup, biohazard cleanup or crime scene cleanup in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California, you can contact The BioClean Team 24/7/365 for a free cost estimate.