Home>Topics>>Chemical Suicides: A New Threat for First Responders

Chemical Suicides: A New Threat for First Responders

Tue, 10 May 2011|

This video from the Firefighters Support Foundation deals with the process of committing suicide by mix chemicals together, which can imperil firefighters and EMTs responding to these incidents. Presented by August Vernon.


Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Due to the current and emerging threat of chemical suicides. Support that we share this information -- response to -- this threat. The chemical suits is the mixture of readily available household chemicals produced a dangerous and hazardous material yes. The goal today's presentations -- respondents very basic tools and information to help you plan and prepare for this response. Three or four years secure responders in the United States never heard of chemical substances besides. Now it's becoming very prevalent as more people become aware that it should become a bigger threat for responders. The guidelines or procedures discussions presentation should not place common sense and experience. If you're responders trying to -- hazardous materials awareness level they can manage this incident. It's also possible plan for every proper response through situations -- -- there. And with the current emerging threat of chemicals from -- there is -- nationally recognized template. So its jurisdiction -- state may need to address that. Also new best practices lessons learned training and information. It's coming out all the time so it's important we update this information. Please remember that the information in today's presentation is for educational purposes only. Each page you should follow its local god wants and procedures. It may be important that the information word today. Can be applied to dating or even creating -- response plan our -- want to manage these incidents. They -- safe and successful response from one of these incidents does require some planning and preparation. So it is very important for entries to plan for these incidents and even -- some areas of this accident. So if they have third run across a real instrument as well first -- managed. Also the likelihood of one of these incidents it's still very low but it's very important the public safety officials. Plan and prepare for these incidents they continue to grow -- not states. Also it can't be anticipated that we may see an increase -- these responses. As more more information becomes readily available and there's more media attention on the number of web sites devoted to this process increased. Failure to plan for these incidents can lead to respond her. Fatalities and injuries that are part of -- several enhancements across United States' first responders were exposed. And toxic substances involved in this process. The purpose of this presentations for -- situation awareness for all responders to be able to recognize the threat. Pick up on the indicators to protect themselves in the public. Also these situations are commonly occurring in vehicles. -- -- dorm rooms laundry rooms in the other clues are confined space. So -- responders approached these incidents -- to be more aware if that are -- space such as the clauses are vehicle. There have already been numerous documented cases within the United States these incidents occurring. At -- -- international database that can tell us exactly how many. But we can't find -- there's -- at least dozens upon hundreds of incidents across United States. The method involves mixing too readily household chemicals together -- and very obnoxious and dangerous to us and be done very. Inexpensively. And very quickly. The gas produced. During this reaction as they flammable and toxic gas. And typically it will cause the victims for quickly going conscious and to stop there -- This method of some of the suicide commonly referred to you -- detergent suicides is becoming more and more prevalent across should not states. There are several reasons for this. Number one of the instructions. To makes these chemicals as readily available on the Internet for anyone that has an interest. Number two the chemicals used are very very cheap and are all readily available and any grocery store or household store. Number three it is very very easy to -- with the procedure and -- these products. Any jurisdiction big -- small it's not -- -- this incident should still plan and prepare for this response. The process of chemical suicide. And -- mixing common household readily available chemicals. To create hydrogen sulphide. -- -- nine. Chlorine or other gases which can be immediately dangerous life and health. And -- small and close location. Now one of the best tools that any responder in -- amounts law enforcement has -- Burch management has readily available. Is the DOT emergency response -- If only information you have as what you can see from the scene indicators he go to guidebook won eleven in -- -- -- provide your response procedures. Personal protective equipment first aid and other items that can help you in your response. As of any response responder safety is our number one priority. There is the potential for responders to be exposed during this incident. Typically the persons committing the fact have left some type of warning sign to advise the public or responders -- there is a chemical hazard. But this may not always be the case. For example the sign that you see in the slide. This is an actual crime scene photo from an instrument and this is the type of improvised warning label or -- you may come across. During the initial dispatch dispatchers and call -- Should -- the -- not to approach her -- of the vehicle are in close locations. We're -- responsible people may have attempted a chemical suicide. This information if -- on this now needs to be related to responders this quickly as possible. The caller may advise that there are warning signs -- labels are -- may not volunteer this information. So again responders situation awareness will be key. The initial call -- -- -- -- dispatch from sensitive announced. People saying he warning and hazardous materials sponsor -- and communism and responsible person and vehicle. Our major incumbent -- welfare check so any of these incidents can turn through chemical assistance in this. The warning signs that the victims placed on the vehicle or the -- location. May become removed. Maybe -- -- Yugoslavs -- even blowing in the wind before responders -- on scene so those may not always been your best indicators. The -- may also modifies the dispatch any type of unusual. Sites are smells or any other indicators that'll be passed onto the dispatchers and responders. Proper national question may yield some information if -- -- moves to ask those questions of the callers. The information if it's discovered must be shared with -- responders immediately before the arrival wants thing. The information in this presentation should definitely be sure with -- communicators and dispatchers. Because they may be the first chain link to warm responders. If you have any indicators that you may have a chemical -- suicide. It's very important use proper PP personal protective equipment. And SE BA carefully -- us out. The situation with any and responsible person in an enclosed place. If that subject appears -- responsive. And unconscious. Does not respond to you verbally knocking on the window these all become indicators you may have had this incident occur. If you -- -- -- plastic over the windows over the fence of the vehicle. Again there could be single or multiple indicators that you have -- this incident occur. Our normal response to an unconscious or -- responsible victim in a vehicle. Is to break open the window open the door immediately struck from the -- are -- their personnel. These incidents that's on our best -- our best avenue of attack. Because you will see some of these warnings and indicators. Number one you may see suicide notes visible are even posted. You may see one or more -- warning signs are hazardous materials. You may see on the interior of the vehicles the buckets pails -- -- recorders. That the chemical process was banished and it's off -- into the vehicle. You -- -- into containers. In or outside of the vehicle. You may also have strong -- unusual -- like -- days. What's the indicators of a chemical assisted suicide. Have been different for far far turn out here and SE BA should be utilized for national approach of the vehicle. And our rescue based on -- seen -- and on -- indicators. If the first on scene is a law enforcement agencies -- -- agency that's very critical at this point. But there may -- the alternate rescue the victim but we cannot call far apartments and responsible. If the first agency on scene is a law enforcement agencies. -- -- -- -- -- It's very important that the foreign partners soon as possible with the turnout gear and the FCB a -- they can make you question quickest initial approach. And -- we rescue that -- During the initial response -- need to survey the inside and the outside of the vehicle. We're also gonna need to determine the responsiveness. Of the subject -- -- conscious or unconscious. Do they appear to be breathing is the -- rising and falling. If the subject is conscious can they open the door exit the vehicle and walk or crawl away into fresh air. Be careful when treating a patient due to the off -- that -- result of the hydrogen sulphide all the hydrogen cyanide. If the subject is -- responsive than there appears to be no breathing from for thirty seconds to a minute when you secure the area. Back off and call for the hazardous material team. The most important thing to remember -- we need to follow our local guidelines and procedures. Some of the initial indicators you may find upon arrival on the scene one on suicide notes that are -- that are visible. -- you may see multiple -- this but -- warning signs that the victim placed on the vehicle. Some of the indicators you may see in the inside the vehicle include buckets pails and parts for the product has been mixed in. You may also smell -- strange or very strong soulful or -- on the outside of the vehicle. -- some incidents the victims have been seat belted in to -- prevent them from falling on the horn you may also see that some of the events have been covered up. -- several incidents the vehicle. Windows may be held moisture on them are there maybe a green or yellow -- but here we need to remember the fall or local goblins or procedures. -- chemical -- suicide becomes an emergency response and a crime scene at the comments discover. Any public safety official who discovered the chemical assistance in this that's considered first on the scene. This means that they need to call for proper help evacuate the immediate area until the persons of control like any other Hazmat incident. Also against supported reverend this is a crime scene and should be treated as such. First thing we need to do upon arrival on the scene -- -- -- next year and the interior of the vehicle. If possible to determine the responsiveness of the subject or the conscious or unconscious. Do they appear to be breathing do you see the chest rising and falling and you see movement from the victim. If the subject is conscious and can open the door and exit the vehicle have them do that. Have them walk away or crawl away from the vehicle into more -- here. If you're dealing with a patient or victim being careful when treating this patient -- -- all -- -- to -- from her clothing and their breath. This as a result of the chemical exposure they have received. If the subject is non responsive and there is no her breathing for thirty seconds to a minute. We're gonna back off the scene set up themselves -- -- and call for help -- team far apartment. But -- we need to fall or local problems and procedures. When it comes to determining whether the victim is alive or dead it's important to look at your own -- and procedures. Our suggestion is look the victim for thirty seconds to a minute but some house -- -- and effigies million dollars industry forcing long enough. -- -- -- -- -- May have argued the moment you see the buckets in the victim -- and warning signs that you need to pull away this is something of these agencies consider. On the other hand some SOPs and -- and she's may have advisors to immediately rushed to the victim no matter the circumstances. So again each department should go back and look at this new threat and how it impacts. The response stop -- -- procedures. Similar to any other -- to -- response you need to consider wind speed and direction. When determining the need to evacuate nearby locations and structures that are near the incident. Also in some -- will take place in a structure our building so in a dorm or apartment building need to consider evacuating. That -- of the building or even the entire building depending on the threat. Some of these incidents may occur any structure or residence so you need to look for -- visual signs as you approach this thing. Just like a vehicle you may have warning signs and Hazmat -- -- -- on the front of the house or the apartment are in the hallways are on the doors. These doors may be sealed with tape or towels or some other form -- fashion from the interior of -- room. Another person's from inside -- location may be complaining of difficulty breathing. Are smelling this smell of rotten eggs or other type of unusual odors. Also responders may be exposed to the -- as they approached the incident. Again we need to be prepared to evacuate that location or even the entire building all the surrounding area based on the response. The -- the possibility the victim is sleeping. Or intoxicated or some other medical condition. The attempt to wake them up with a vehicle addresses phone board -- or some other means or fashion. If they cannot be awakened at that point respond -- performer for already -- You could even perform a -- from some distance from the vehicle using binoculars. Spotting scoops or even -- cameras. But do -- for a recount before you make an initial approach on -- if you see the warning indicators. Some of the sides of -- in the past may not easily be detected. -- -- -- understood by other people including responders. So again don't rely on the victim providing all the exact information. Also signs have been -- can be hidden. By compensation vehicle Frost's move -- -- the -- that are produced by the reaction can mask those warning labels signs. Also a reminder anytime during this missile victim in this is what you have this response. The victim may not be good and maybe still suicidal so there could be increased likelihood of violence toward responders. -- responders arrive on the scene it's very important interview any citizen or any member of the public. Whose approach is seen to learn what they saw personal. You can even ask them to draw out and do what we saw in the vehicle what the -- today. When it comes to smell Iran takes milk and indicated hydrogen sulphide. And all in order is typical of Exxon not compound. But again as with any hazardous to your response -- should not attempt to identify any hazardous -- using their sense of smell. If you can clearly see that there -- -- chemical containers and mixing containers present anywhere in the enclosed space. Those containers could be hidden from view so that may not be your best indicator that there has been chemicals -- suicide. So it's very important that on any situation or -- -- -- that responders maintain your situation awareness and observe the entire scene. Look for another warning signs are indicators -- you make fun. If chemical containers -- present the trip to identify the chemicals from -- labels. From the container itself or maybe even receipts that are laying around that you -- -- seen. All these may help you put -- -- what process was created. Now there are several different reactions it could take place. One reaction they utilized massive found -- -- common cleaning compounds. And I saw -- its present in many different -- insecticides and -- group that is utilized produce hydrogen sulphide. The hydrogen sulphide chemical process is the most common chemical substances that is taking place right now. The presence of containers of potassium cyanide or any other cyanide compound. Would indicate a reaction is producing hydrogen cyanide which -- is -- very toxic and dangerous chemical. This is less common in the heart and -- -- reaction. And sign cards are not as easily obtained. But it's still an emerging as a threat that you may come across. They're monitoring and protection can't be used to determine. The presence or absence of Arkansas 500. Son -- pouring gas or any other materials that may be utilized. And chemical substance who have sought. One option for hazardous material teams. -- to put small holes. To allow proved to be Internet -- -- vehicle or to restructure. Or even in the gap between indoor and before you put it into -- room. Musical metric to trigger -- and other -- -- monitoring equipment. So that tells us than it properly trained and equipped hazardous material team is the best option for these responses. At this point if it's been determined that the patient is deceased. -- we need to do is secure the scene and wait for hazardous material team. Even if this takes an hour -- for -- regional team to arrive -- is our best and safest option for the responders. Both -- all fun and hug from son and I are very flammable. At this time there's been no incidents -- far reported at a chemical system suicides thing. But concentrations may not typically reach -- -- hill all the lower explosives women except the very close proximity. To the mixing container on the pills. So what that means is responder should eliminate that endorses ignition sources that are near the source. Vapors inside the space should be ventilated from the outside of the vehicle structure. Also if you're beginning of an election process insurer nor will be endangered by those -- Before using natural or forced ventilation and air help the location. Pot -- pressure revelation can be used -- newspapers and it's -- -- residence -- structure. That's also very important to remember that the reaction may restart if that -- -- is moved. So the bucket removal and identification is an excellent job for that hazardous material team. Whether the incident because they -- the rescue our victim recovery. The clothing should be removed and double back due to all guessing. Also responder -- they have personal protective equipment should be longer before being reused. If a lot of the victim needs to be immediately stripped and decontaminated on the scene with soap and water. Before being transported from the scene through the hospital this can be done very rapidly. The -- -- from afar truck if necessary. From an emergency medical response that it is important remember that these victims killed off chaos through their breathing during treatment. So Bernstein medical service responders may need help proper -- on. And the hospital may need to initiate -- -- procedures at the -- teams to -- participation on the arrival. Responders must initially utilized emergency be gone for rescue operations. This would include both the victim and the responders. One -- more detailed plan is put into place you will only provide technical the time for the announcement entry team and those involved -- victim removal and recovery. Also wants a victim has removed. The deceased victim will still need to be decontaminated. And should be covered bond -- on the scene. As -- deceased victim could even possibly be off casting. As you can see from the crime scene for on this line. Again there is a variety of warning labels and signs that you may be seen. That were printed off and placed on the slide toward responders. -- -- 35 there are some nationally recognized preferences. That would be available to you need an additional information are references. Also some final -- all the response to a chemical assisted suicide. It's very important that all responders. Utilize the incident command system and build an incident command post -- -- -- -- exhausting. Are working together -- -- unified command to make the safest. In the best possible answers from the incident. Very very important to notify EMS and the hospitals. Of the victim exposure. So we can avoid contamination. Both the ambulance in the hospital. Also it's very important to establish our normal Hazmat zone of control -- -- -- -- warm zone and -- -- from this incident.

Related Videos:

  1. Industrial Fire Brigades: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    Describes heat-resistant work uniforms and safety shoes, the elements of personal protective clothing for firefighting and their protection from hazards. Shows special clothing situations plus organization and responsibilities for the care of gear.

  2. The Fire Safety Officer: Roles and Responsibilities

    This free training program from the Firefighters Support Foundation deals with challenges and considerations for safety officers on the fireground.

  3. Preparation for and Response to Mass Shooting Events

    This free full-length presentation from the Firefighters Support Foundation details the actions that fire and EMS agencies can take to prepare themselves for mass-shooting events.

  4. Mayday: Basic Concepts

    In this free training program from the Firefighters Support Foundation , Eric Stroud of Fire and Rescue Concepts, LLC discusses firefighter self-survival and issuing the Mayday on the fireground.