The scene of a crime, suicide or natural death has no mystery for the “cleaners”

It's a job that is rarely mentioned, as if to ward off bad luck. The very mention of it brings to mind crime scenes seen on television in a second. "After-death cleaner".

20 Minute : 09.05.2017

It’s done, the words are out. They are few to do so and “no, it has nothing to do with the film Léon”, warns Julien Martel, the director of Groupe NAD, a young Alsatian company specialising in this field, whom 20 Minutes met.

Visit to an Alsatian company specialising in cleaning up after a death. It uses mainly organic products and respects to the letter safety and hygiene procedures

It’s a job that is rarely mentioned, as if to ward off bad luck. The very mention of it brings to mind crime scenes seen on television in a second. “Cleaner after death”. It’s done, the words are out. They are few to do so and “no, this has nothing to do with the film Léon”, warns Julien Martel, the director of Groupe NAD, a young Alsatian company specialising in this field, whom 20 Minutes met.

Although he denies that his job is shrouded in mystery, the thirty-year-old unwillingly sets the scene for a US series from the outset. Julien Martel leads us into his office where demonstration containers are lined up for soiled waste. I don’t like the term “cleaner”, this is not the United States, the relationship with death is not the same”, he warns. I’ve already had, as one anecdote among others, a phone call from someone who told me they had a “problem” and wanted me to come and clean it up, no questions asked. And wanted to pay in cash…”. The innuendos and silences are long. “We have very strict intervention protocols. For example, in the case of a homicide, we only intervene once the seals have been removed; moreover, we ask the police or the gendarmes to be there when they are removed and we attach these documents to our file. It’s a job where you have to be very rigorous, meticulous but also passionate. As for natural deaths, the body must have remained at the scene for at least 48 hours, or the death must be due to an infectious, viral or bacterial disease, otherwise we have no reason to intervene. “

Illustration. Group NAD agent gelling agent sprinkling operation – Group NAD

Like in a movie, or almost

Come, follow me,” he says before leading us into his back garage, where his “laboratory” is located. And this is not CSI Miami. A small, dark space where a cement pavement with blood splatters and a white protective suit, mask and gloves hang. “There is no projection, you are safe. This is blood, the scene is frozen,” says the cleaner. “This is pig’s blood, very close to human blood.

We use this laboratory as much as necessary for our blood homicide or suicide intervention protocol, as we are constantly improving our techniques and research. “. A place where every employee, before going out into the field, is trained for a month before taking an assessment test. “There is no such thing as training,” says Julien Martel. So it is he who personally oversees the training of the employees, who are considered to be a “band of friends” and who, all together, meet every fortnight in the company of a psychologist, in order to share or discuss the problems encountered.

This research allows it, and this is a particularity, to use no (or very few) chemical products. The young company has chosen to invest in innovative technologies for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, but also for airborne disinfection, including the destruction of odours using an ozone generator. This prevents any resistant and allergenic strains after our visit,” says Julien Martel, “without using chemicals automatically. And to ensure that nothing is left behind, the cleaners use Bluestar or a UV lamp on homicides or suicides, whenever they have a doubt during certain interventions to look for traces of blood that would have been washed away, so as not to leave anything behind after their passage.

Illustration. Taking pictures to study the behaviour of blood – NAD Group

Dry steam cleaning

While clients will not get back their mattresses or carpets stained with blood and organic matter where bacteria proliferate, the premises will be disinfected, clean. “We have the same protocol as in operating theatres. In fact, after a homicide or suicide, we use the same machine for cleaning and disinfection as the one used in the Versailles hospital. It sprays dry steam, the temperature of which rises to 180°, and not a single interstice escapes it,” says Julien Martel. We restore the premises so that the families do not see the other side of the coin, to help them. “

A field that the young entrepreneur knows very well. A former soldier, he “comes from the world of the funeral industry” and has spent three long years thinking about the needs of his profession before launching his business. “It is a service that we offer. A continuation of the funeral service. “

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