I’m often asked how I got into my line of work, so I thought I’d share…
One day, I was on my way to work, driving down the freeway. I saw a dog on the side of the road – That was the switch that got this whole train a-rollin’!
I wondered, “Who cleans up dead animals from the freeway?” I thought about Cal-Trans, but figured it’s not really up their alley. CHP? Not likely! That then triggered a thought about who cleans up after suicide, homicide or worse, human decomposition?
Armed with a computer and the internet, I began my research. It wasn’t long before I discovered this “behind-the-scene” industry that very little knew about. It was, of course, the crime scene cleaning industry. I discovered that there were people whose sole purpose was to clean up crime scenes. Unless you’re familiar with the industry, people tend not to think about after death cleanup, or violent crime scenes and the people who clean them, but when the scenario is brought to your attention, your first thought is that the EMTs or the coroner cleans up the aftermath – that was my first thought, anyway.
I almost gave up my research until I discovered that it was the family’s responsibility to clean it up. At first, I was shocked. How could anyone expect someone to clean up the aftermath of a suicide or, God forbid, a homicide of a family member?
It was then that I was on my way to becoming a crime scene cleaner. I must have called a handful of training companies before I found one that I respected. I didn’t waste any time, I registered for the next available class, figured out the financial aspect and worked out getting time off work.
My training was very exciting, extensive and informative and I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Once I got back, reality hit me. I had a great-paying job and all the niceties one could ask for. Was I really going to give all that up and start a business in an industry I had only just finished learning about? Unfortunately, no. I was not going to do that. I had just spent thousands of dollars and weeks learning how to properly cleanup after suicides, homicides, decompositions and crime scenes and it seemed like it was all for naught.
Flash forward… I was living with my now-husband in our new home, 7 months pregnant with my first child and still working at my safe and comfortable job that I had been at for 12 years when I got broad-sided. I was told by my boss that the company was going in a new direction and there was no place for me in the new format. I was devastated. What would I do? My future husband’s job wouldn’t support us alone, but who was going to hire an extremely pregnant woman?
Needless to say, my stress level was off the scale. I had never been in a position like this. Luck was on my side when I came across a company that was borderline desperately seeking a Receptionist. They were fine with my being pregnant and it was understood that when my baby was born, I would no longer be working there. It was a huge pay cut, but it would cover our deficit and allow us to squeak by until we could figure something more permanent out.
Then the second blow came. My husband got laid off from his job! However, Luck was with us again when the company I now worked at had another position that my husband fit the bill for just fine. It was a little bit of a pay increase, too!
Things were holding up ok until the 23rd of December, when my son decided he was done with my womb and was seeking some larger accommodations. Although I couldn’t have been more happy with the birth of my son (even at 2 months premature), I also realized that I needed to get back to work ASAP. How was it going to work? I couldn’t take my newborn son to work with me and I couldn’t bear to leave him with a babysitter – not at such young an age. Hello, Stress, my old friend. Welcome back.
I was soon to realize that the Universe had everything planned out. It seemed to be pushing me towards the Crime Scene Cleaning industry, that I was once so gung ho about.
I had mentioned to my husband early on that I had done the crime scene cleaning training and never did anything with it because of reasons I have covered earlier. He then pointed out that none of those reasons existed now. Why didn’t we do it now? It wasn’t like we had much to lose.
And so it began. We came up with our business name (also a gift from the Universe) and that was the first step of the journey we took together. We literally started from nothing and have built our business into what it is today.
Today, Cendecon provides professional decontamination services for suicide, homicide, unattended death (decomposition), hoarding, tear gas and much more. We pride ourselves on our service to our clients and are happy that we can help them out in a time of great need.