Rise in meth lab blasts puts first responders at risk
Methamphetamine-related events recorded by the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) system increased from 184 in 2000 to 320 in June, 2004, totaling 1,791 events in the 16 states that use HSEES. Washington (399 events) and Missouri (351) reported the most events.
These events resulted in almost 960 injuries. Police officers and other first-responders were most frequently injured, although 13 children also were injured. The most frequent injuries were respiratory irritation, headache, eye irritation, and burns. Nine people died as a result of their injuries.
The CDC also urges first-responders to wear personal chemical-protective equipment, including positive-pressure, self-contained breathing apparatuses.