Home is a haven, which makes it especially troubling when bad things happen there. We’re not talking about things like coffee spills on the carpet or a dog who throws up his entire dinner. Those are nothing in the long term. But when traumatic incidents happen inside your home, it feels like a major violation. It’s one thing to be mugged while walking downtown, but once you walk in your front door (and lock it behind you), there are certain expectations that come with it. You expect you’ll be safe and free from harm from natural disasters and other violent incidents.
When we hear reports about a crime being committed inside a home, we see yellow police tape and a lot of officers milling about the property. There may also be other officials. If someone is dead, a coroner will usually come out to take the body and perform an autopsy (because if a crime has happened, the state needs to know how the crime happened). A lot of people see the pictures in the newspaper or hear about the crime on TV, but they don’t think of it beyond that. Once the police have completed their investigation, there’s still a lot of work to be done for family members who are already grieving and in shock. They’ll probably need to hire a trauma and crime scene cleaning crew to come in and restore the home to its previous state. This is not something the family should attempt on its own, as the blood and pathogens left behind after a death can really be harmful if they aren’t cleaned up in properly. There are enough emotional burdens to bear after something bad happens; families shouldn’t have to bear the physical clean-up burden as well. Trained professionals are better able to compartmentalize bad things and focus on their job. It doesn’t mean they don’t feel sorrow over what’s happened, but it does mean they can put those feelings aside long enough to focus on the task at hand.
America seems to be experiencing a frightening rise is wildfires lately. That’s especially true out West, where dry conditions can be especially conducive to fires. Late summer and fall is typically considered fire season, but the massive recent fires in Southern California are calling even that into question. The effects of climate change may be leading to more wildfires, but regardless of the cause, it’s quite distressing. People in the affected areas are usually told ahead of time to prepare for evacuation, but sometimes there’s no time for that, and they have to flee with nothing more than themselves and their pets. Even if they come back to a house that was mostly spared, that doesn’t mean their residence is the same as it’s always been. All that soot floating around in the air can still be dangerous; so a smoke impact evaluation conducted by professionals may go a long way toward easing victims’ minds. It’s OK to feel shaken up; that’s natural after getting that close to a natural disaster. One way to feel better, though, is to acknowledge the pain and try to resume living a somewhat normal life.