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Thursday April 25th, 2013

Posted at 10:11am

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In a recent situation this week, two OPP members were sent to hospital from inhaling Hydrogen Sulfide fumes while intervening to aid a victim.

The OPP is warning the public of a potential safety risk in light of several investigated incidents by the OPP.

OPP say should you come upon someone who appears to be sleeping in a vehicle or another enclosed space and is unresponsive, you should call police immediately and use extreme caution in attempting to access the victim. Prior to opening the vehicle door, look inside for written signs or chemicals being used. The gas concentration in the vehicle will be extremely high and inhalation of the fumes may be fatal to the responder.

Hydrogen sulphide is a gas that smells like rotten eggs and is not present in vehicles unless introduced there by the victim. The danger to responders and public are that this gas is very similar to cyanide and it is five times more toxic than carbon monoxide. In some instances, victims have posted notes on vehicle windows warning rescuers not to enter the vehicle.

If inhaled at low levels it can cause eye irritation, sore throat, cough, nausea, shortness of breath and fluid in the lungs. Moderate exposure can cause fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, staggering, headaches and arability. Concentrated high exposure can cause convulsions, amnesia, respiratory paralysis and death by asphyxiation.

Both officers who inhaled the gas while at a call are expected to make a full recovery.

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