Why Fire Departments Need Multi-Gas Detectors?Mario Pipunić
If you’re a firefighter or a member of an emergency response crew, you know that gas-related risks are a common part of the job. Toxic fumes can be present at any stage of a fire, but unless you use a multi-gas detector, you won’t know for sure whether the air in the cold zone is safe. Because of this, a growing number of firefighters recognize that portable gas monitors are the simple answer to these challenges and have made these detectors an essential part of their turnout gear.
Here are four reasons why your fire department should make the case for multi-gas detectors in next year’s budget:
1. Ideal for Every Gas Detection Scenario
Fire departments are increasingly responding to calls where invisible, deadly gases may be lurking, so having the right gas detection equipment in place is more important than ever.
Fire departments respond to plenty of home calls concerning carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Multi-gas detectors can not only detect the presence of CO, but they can also help you determine the source of the CO leak. In addition to detecting CO, you can use a multi-gas detector for home calls concerning natural gas leaks or other suspicious odors.
Although CO calls are common for firefighters, there are other lesser-known gas hazards you need to monitor. Fire smoke is a complex mix of toxins, and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) has emerged as one of the most common and dangerous. Historically, HCN was not a concern after a typical house fire. But as synthetic materials replace natural materials in the construction industry, HCN has become more prevalent. When heated, these materials emit HCN at levels unimaginable to firefighters from decades past. Multi-gas monitors alert you when HCN is present, in addition to other common gas hazards, telling you whether you need respiratory protection.
2. They Are Essential for Team Safety
Many fire departments may only have one multi-gas detector per rig – or even just one for the entire department. While one monitor per department or per rig is exponentially better than no monitors at all, there are several benefits to each firefighter carrying a multi-gas detector.
What does this look like for your firefighters? If one of your crew goes into a structure and her monitor detects a surge in HCN or any other gas, the rest of your crew will see the alarms on their own monitors, showing them who is in trouble and what the atmospheric conditions are—so they know exactly how to initiate the rescue.
3. Maintenance is Simple
It’s easy to look at multi-gas detectors and see them as more equipment to maintain. However, the truth is that modern gas monitors are easy to care for with the right tools. There are several ways you can simplify or even automate maintenance so your crew gets the gas detection it needs without wasting valuable time.
To simplify routine maintenance, you can rely on the docking station. The docking station automatically bump tests monitors according to your schedule, so you don’t have to spend time doing it manually. It’s as simple as placing the multi-gas monitors on the docking station when they’re not in use. The gas monitors will automatically be charged, bump tested daily to your local safety requirements. Records of each of these activities are stored digitally, so you can access records and certificates in an instant.
With these maintenance options in place, you never need to worry about whether your gas monitors are ready to use.
Multi-gas monitors are relatively inexpensive for the amount of protection they provide. While they do carry an upfront cost, they ensure the safety of each firefighter in your department for several years. In fact, by preventing just one on-the-job injury, a monitor more than pays for itself, making it easy to justify the budget.
You know that when your crew is responding to a call, the right tools make all the difference. If multi-gas detectors aren’t part of your crew’s turnout gear, it’s time to step up your safety game.