OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The most common cause of death in fires is not an injury related to burns, but toxic gas inhalation.
The most toxic gas? Hydrogen cyanide.
Thanks to funding through a hazardous materials grant from New York State administered through Onondaga County Emergency Management, the City of Oswego Fire Department was able to purchase two cyanide-antidote kits.
“It’s particularly important for us in Oswego to have this antidote kit to give that person that chance of survival,” said Fire Chief Randy Griffin.
Cyanide is hard to detect, which is half the battle. For Oswego specifically, the amount of time it takes to get to the hospital also comes into play.
“We have a bigger issue in the fact that the closest burn unit to Oswego is at least 45 minutes away,” said Chief Griffin.
With the two kits on hand, firefighters can now treat victims on the scene, giving them a better chance at survival.
“If we save one persons’ life from this, we realize the issue and if we save a firefighter’s life from it, it’s well worth the expense,” said Chief Griffin.
The department is looking at more funding to replace the two doses once they run out. Chief Griffin tells NewsChannel 9 they’re also looking to see if local hospitals will replenish the dose if they use it on the way to the hospital.
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