A trend in a method of committing suicide is continuing to grow in the United States and it poses a viable threat to first responders. This method does not involve firearms, knives or medications, but rather common household products. When mixed together, they can produce one of the most toxic gases known to man: Hydrogen Sulfide.


This course is approved for continuing education credits by Missouri POST, American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI) and the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute  (ACFEI)

Who should take this course

  • Police
  • Coroners
  • C/ME  Investigator
  • Security Officers
  • Fire Personnel
  • EMS Personnel

Course Summary

A trend in a method of committing suicide is continuing to grow in the United States and it poses a viable threat to first responders. This method does not involve firearms, knives or medications, but rather common household products. When mixed together, they can produce one of the most toxic gases known to man: Hydrogen Sulfide.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless gas that is heavier than air. It is water-soluble and, in low concentrations, there is a distinct odor often described as “rotten eggs.” It is flammable and has a half-life of 37 hours.

This method evolved in Japan in the late 2000s and is known as “chemical suicide” or “detergent suicide.” Since that time and due to this method, deaths in Japan have been estimated to be in the hundreds by some officials. It is believed that the first chemical suicides were carried out in the United States in 2008.

One of the most dangerous characteristics of hydrogen sulfide gas is that a person’s sense of smell can be inhibited after just few minutes of exposure to low concentrations. Because of this, first responders may not be aware of its presence or may unknowingly wander farther into higher concentrations.

Some of the effects of contamination to first responders can be inflammation of the respiratory system, difficulty breathing, rapid or slow heart beat, sweating, delirium, headache, sensitivity to light, blueness of skin due to depleted oxygen in the blood stream, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.

This course is designed to introduce the first responding officers and EMS personnel  to the dangers of chemical suicides. This course explains what they are and how the decedent carries out this form of suicide. The course also covers what warning signs to observe and the actions you must take to protect yourself and others in the area.

This is an online video training and is designed to be interactive with students by random quizzes and final exam. Student login  time is tracked per student to verify time spent in the course if needed.   Testing cannot be done until videos are watched.  Each video has a unique symbol or picture that will appear prominently during the video and is part of the test questions, this will insure the video has been watched.  Certificates will only be available for print after success completion of the final exam and the course evaluation.

Each certificate will indicate that it was an online training and will note the post control number and the CLEE hours given.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this training, attendees will be able to:

  1. Define Chemical Suicide
  2. Define the hazardous nature of responding to a chemical suicide call.
  3. List the steps in safely responding to a call involving chemical suicide.

 

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