This news has something to do with chemical suicide. I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, but if you followed Rick Russotti’s Mitigation Journal, you may have heard him talk about it in the past. This is a very hot button issue because some organizations out there think that by merely talking about it, we’re encouraging it. No, we’re not encouraging it, especially on this show. We’re not encouraging, but I don’t want to see you, or me, or anybody I know die or become injured because some idiot carried out a chemical suicide and we weren’t aware of what the dangers were. So we need to talk about it. If you don’t like that we talk about it, turn it off. That’s my disclaimer here because I know there has been some people who have complained about the publicity associated with this.

Chemical suicide is a fact of life and as first responders, it would be irresponsible of me not to educate you, the audience, about what goes on. So there’s an article that talks about a recent chemical suicide in LA and it talks about some of these dangers. This first seems to have come to light when a celebrity in Japan used a website to create a chemical concoction, created a lethal gas and put herself in an enclosed space and died. People who do this typically will go somewhere, park their car, combine the chemicals, form a noxious gas inside the vehicle and beforehand, they’ve posted all over the vehicle “call 911, harmful fatal gases inside” and then they dump the bottles together to do whatever they’re doing and cause themselves to die.

Suicide is a horrible thing. It’s something we respond to, either attempts or completed suicides as the case may be, but you do need to be aware that this could be something you might encounter. There may be chemical residuals, there may be gases nearby still in the location where somebody was found and you should make sure that you’re aware of what’s going on. Again, this is part of the whole scene survey part of what we do when we get to the scene. We need to assess the scene and if we start seeing some chemical bottles in a pile there and there’s a big bowl and this person tried to kill themselves with a chemical, we need to be aware of how they did that. We need to be aware of the dangers associated with having contact with those things.

So, depending on your local protocols, depending on what your guidelines are saying to do, you may need to call for hazardous materials people. It may require a localized evacuation or at least a sheltering in place for neighbors. Just something to be aware of and I think that, again, this is not something we can just sweep under the rug. It’s happening. There are websites out there that show you how to do all kinds of scary things doesn’t mean that we condone it when we talk about it. It just means that we need to be prepared and understand how these situations are going to crop up and protect ourselves. I know Rick Russotti will agree with me on that and if anyone has any problems with it, just turn the show off. That’s all you have to do if it bothers you, but the responders, the readers, and people listening to this program need to get that information.

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This article has been featured in the news segment of the MedicCast podcast episode 6 Tips for EMS Narrative Writing Part 2 and Episode 270

 

 

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2 Responses to Bracing Up EMS for Chemical Suicide Situations

  1. Pat Ramos says:

    Jamie, we have had some of these occur in our surrounding areas and I can share a little more info with you on this subject if you would like. The DOD Homeland Security is actively working on removing the “recipe” of different items that can be used for this activity from all online sources. There are still a few hidden that remain, but basically it is a concoction of 2 common household items with one being a sulphor base like dandruff shampoo and the other a toilet bowl cleaner type substance. They will take these 2 items with a pail to their selected destination. Sometimes they will be cautious enough to leave a warning on their car windows but others do not warn you at all. They then mix these 2 together in the pail. Upon inusion together it creates a bad egg smelled gas which upon first inspiration will knock out your consciousness and while they are in the syncopal phase ftheir second inspiration when then knock out the drive to breath at the medulla and instantly finish their capability to breath.
    All rescuers should be aware that if you come upon an unconscious patient in a car to visually scan the interior of the car for these 3 items, if seen call the Hazmat team immediately and evacuate the area. If not seen and the responder opens the door, what happens is the noxious gas will be immediately inhaled and render the rescuer unconscious, however being out in the open air, they will not be likely to get that second inhalation and are not likely to die in addition to the patient. Hope that helps. Patti

  2. podmedic says:

    Patti, thanks for your comment. You are absolutely correct and your instructions on careful approach are well taken.

    I find it amusing that the uninformed, non-tech savvy boneheads at DHS are trying to “wash the web.” Typical, uninformed response. Unfortunately, that’s just as futile as putting chemicals back in their bottles after mixing them. Once it’s on the web, you’re best option is public education and outreach.

    Of course, if people were smart (including DHS), we’d be out of a job!

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