- Posted by TWPadmin
- On April 11, 2020
- 0 Comments
- gas hazards
When firefighters attack a structure fire, the hazards to life and health are obvious. The flames, the heavy smoke, and the extreme heat are clear reminders of what’s at stake.
What’s often overlooked, however, is the danger of gas hazards both during and after a fire. As information on the hidden dangers of fire smoke proliferates, a growing number of firefighters are realizing that gas monitors are a vital part of their turnout gear. Atmospheric testing at fire scenes has shown that toxic fumes are present at every stage of the fire—and without a portable gas detector, there is no way to determine whether the air in the cold zone is actually safe to breathe.
Research has shown that toxic gasses linger at alarming levels well after the fire has been extinguished. But because most firefighters do not carry portable gas detectors, they’re probably unaware of the danger and may remove their SCBA mask and risk inhaling toxic fumes.
Fire smoke is a complex mix of toxins, and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) has emerged as one of the most common and dangerous. While carbon monoxide (CO) often gets public attention, HCN is commonly found alongside it, and together, they’re known as the “toxic twins.” Both are asphyxiants, meaning they interfere with the body’s ability to process oxygen. Individually they’re dangerous. Together, they’re even more deadly.