When Tragedy Strikes, What Do You Do?
Who to Call and What Resources You Need
You walk in the door and find your loved one has passed away. You were not prepared for that, you didn't think you would walk into a home to find that. It could be from suicide, accidental death, natural causes or even homicide. Walking into the place you feel safe and finding that someone is deceased is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to anyone. Not only have you lost a loved one or someone you care about, but you are the one that found them. Sometimes people are found with bodily fluids around them, such as blood or vomit or in awkward positions, this can add even more to the trauma and confusion. So what do you do? Who do you call?
Please contact you local law enforcement first. They will get the process going to get the coroner, investigation team and any other first responders to the residence as soon as possible. If you need support and resources there are local organizations such as Victim Services and Crisis Responders who can help. They have wonderful people working for them that are trained to help in traumatic situations, have plenty of resources and are available to you 24/7/365. You can request a victim advocate or crisis responder from the police when they arrive to the scene. If you are dealing with a suicide, please ask for an AOK "bag of kindness". The AOK kit is currently available in Coconino County, but does plan on being statewide in the future. You can also contact AOK if you are outside Coconino County to request kits. These kits have resources specifically for suicide including professional death scene clean up company, memorial service information, snacks, pens and paper, resource guide and more.
The other resource you need is a trauma and crime scene cleaning company. If there are any bodily fluids from the death, it is recommended you have a professional company come to clean the scene. This is not only recommended for proper cleaning but also, to help with trauma. One thing we have learned over time is that people are usually more traumatized by having to clean up a death scene of a friend or family member than they are of the actual death. When looking for a reputable company in the state of Arizona, please make sure they are OSHA certified, ADEQ Bio-medical waste transport certified, are licensed, are insured, and can come to your home the same day of you calling, preferably within hours.
Please, do not hesitate to ask for help when experiencing crisis. There are so many resources available to the public when experiencing loss. The organizations and people who are made available as resources really do care and really do want to help. Let the healing process begin. For more information, please reach out to any of the organizations above or to Rebecca at www.BioOneFlagstaff.com or www.BioOneScottsdale.com