A Risk Assessment Strategy For A Chemical Suicide

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Background: Before January 2008, industrial accidents were the main cause of Hydrogen Sulfide poisonings in Japan. Since then, the use of this gas in chemical or “detergent” suicides increased exponentially, over 2,000 such suicides have been reported in Japan. This trend was next encountered by first responders in America, with 3 cases reported in 2008, 9 in 2009 and over 30 incidents in 2010 (Morii et al., 2010). The new trend was shared via internet message boards. Dependant of the mixture of common household ingredients such as bath salts and toilet detergent, either Hydrogen Sulfide or Hydrogen Cyanide gas will be produced. Suicide is often performed in a confined space in order to trap the resulting gas. Enclosed spaces such as…show more content…
A colourless, flammable, toxic gas and an olfactory nerve paralyzer, even in low quantities (1,000 - Lethal Dose 1000ppm - Immediate collapse with cardiopulmonary arrest, even after one breath. Data from (Oreshan and Stevens, 2011). Information Sources The Fire Department’s response on scene was guided by the ERG (2016). Throughout the incident, an isolation distance of 330ft was maintained around the vehicle. It was a small scale incident with no spillage, the chemicals were confined to the vehicle. No exposure hazard was identified to occupancies downwind of the incident. Upon arrival, Fire Crews liaised with Police Units, ensuring they were outside the 330ft cordon. Liaison determined the risks posed by the vehicle and its contents and established any additional safety concerns. Who was at Risk? Members of the public: Due to the time the incident occurred, no one had encountered the vehicle. The first responder: The Police Officer was evaluated by the Fire Department’s medical unit. He had maintained a safe distance from the vehicle and subsequently not been exposed to lethal concentrations of the gas. By making careful observations, he observed the pungent odour, the written warnings and the individual slumped driver’s seat. By requesting the Fire Department, he recognised the risks posed to himself and the public, if he opened one of the vehicle doors he would have been instantly overcome by the gas,
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