Essay on Chemical Suicide: A Danger to First Responders

2003 Words 9 Pages
As a first responder, police officers can often encounter many different cases where an individual is reported to be unconscious inside a vehicle. Usually upon arrival, the officer will try and make contact with the subject to investigate the situation. Often times, the officer will discover that the person has either a medical condition, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or just hasn’t gotten enough sleep (Randall, 2011). However, in recent years there has been a growing trend occurring in the United States that is affecting the safety of first responders. In this trend people are releasing chemicals within confined spaces, such as a vehicle, to commit suicide. Chemical suicides are very dangerous to anyone within the vicinity …show more content…
A lot of this has to do with the variations in protocol between law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies (Scoville, 2011). Since there isn’t a common central reporting location for each agency to report their cases to, the actual numbers could be higher (Scoville, 2011).

There are several different factors that could help explain why this form of suicide has been on the rise in the United States. Often suicidal subjects may turn to the internet in an attempt to find a quick and easy way to end their life. Using search engines or chat rooms, a subject can discover that death by chemicals is one method described as being “a quicker, less complicated method of suicide” (Adkins, 2010). There are also a number of different websites that help supply the proper instructions and techniques to carry out the procedure. Chemical Suicides are typically performed by mixing two common household chemicals to create a poisonous gas (Goode, 2011). Often the subject could have these chemicals readily available, or easily obtain them at any grocery store. Depending on which chemicals are mixed, the results are usually going to be either hydrogen sulfide H2S or hydrogen cyanide HCN (Oreshan & Stevens, 2011). Most of the time hydrogen sulfide is going to be more commonly made as the ingredients to create hydrogen cyanide are not as readily available (Oreshan & Stevens, 2011). To create hydrogen sulfide, the two basic ingredients

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