New tool aids chemical suicide responses

The Chameleon from Morphix Technologies is specifically offered for the military, first responders, and industrial workers to detect potentially-deadly gases


By John Rivera

Along with the high tech equipment we use nowadays, there is low tech equipment that can be available to us. For example Morphix Technologies offers a product called the Chameleon. This product is as low tech as you can get but can be immeasurable in its capabilities.

The Chameleon is a chemical detection unit that is conveniently worn on a person's wrist or forearm. When the Chameleon is worn it can detect any of 10 chemicals in the air and shows the wearer what chemical is present by changing color on the cassette designed for a specific airborne chemical. In comparison, when I was in the Navy, we were required to carry a box to sniff out airborne chemicals and lack of oxygen.

What You Can't See CAN Hurt You!
For today's first responders this tool can help save not only the wearer's life but of others around the wearer as well. We recently had one of our first chemical suicides in our county.

Fortunately, the neither caller reporting the incident nor the first responders were harmed during this incident. But if this incident had occurred in a residence and a first responder had walked inside without a chemical detection device then it could had a disastrous result.

We all know about the rise of chemical suicides in the United States. Japan has known of this danger for a period of time now but we here in the U.S. are relatively new to this danger.

In September, Morphix introduced the Chemical Suicide Detection Kit. It is advertised as "A kit that offers Police, EMS and first-responders a field configurable, low cost, easy to use, hands free solution when encountering a chemical suicide."

The way the Chameleon functions is simple: the wearer simply puts on a band with a Velcro pad. This pad can have a pad attached that holds up to ten different chemical detection cassettes that detect hazardous chemicals. Once exposed to a certain chemical the particular cassette changes color and the wearer can safely retreat the exposed area and notify others of the danger.

A Variety of Threats
Morphix currently offers sensor cassettes for Acid (low pH) gases, Ammonia, Basic (high pH) gases, Chlorine/Fluorine, Diborane, Hydrazine, Hydrogen Sulfide, Iodine, Phosgene, Phosphine and Sulfur Dioxide and expects more detection cassettes in the future.

The Chameleon is specifically offered for the Military, first responders, and industrial workers. Morphix advertises several other chemical-detecting products that can be worn much like a badge on a person's shirt.

As first responders we know the dangers of airborne chemicals. As police officers we know that terrorists and other similarly minded people have used chemicals to do harm to innocent people. It is my opinion that the Chameleon is a simple solution to an ever growing problem.

Stay Safe.

John Rivera is a Patrol Officer with the Bremerton Police Department. John’s career BPD started as a Volunteer Reserve Officer and while he volunteered his time as a reserve officer he work as Police Officer at Naval Base Kitsap. He was hired full time in 2006 and attended the Washington State Police Academy. While at the academy, John was selected as the class “Techy” to help with the technologically deficient class instructors. Before John’s law enforcement career, he gained his computer experience through earning a degree in Computer Programming and then working in the computer industry as a Network Administrator and Systems Engineer for several companies.

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