Firefighting, Hazmat, Training

Lessons Learned from Hydrogen Sulfide Incident

Issue 11 and Volume 164.

By Brian Ward On December 15, 2009, at approximately 12:30 a.m., fire units were dispatched to the parking lot of a community park where police units were performing a routine drive-through looking for suspicious activities. This proved to be one of those times. As a patrol officer approached a parked vehicle, he noticed a strong and pungent odor coming from the vehicle, which made him cautious. As the officer got closer to the vehicle, he saw handwritten notes on the car windows warning that the doors were not to be opened and that “one breath will kill you.” The words “hydrogen sulfide” were also noted. The officer could also see a patient slumped against the driver’s side door inside the vehicle. The officer decided to ask the fire department to respond to his location for assistance. After listening to the dispatch, Phil Klein, the lead medic for our company, recognized…

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