RAE Systems

March 21, 2013 18:35 ET

RAE Systems and Fire Smoke Coalition to Deliver Australia-Based Training on Hidden Dangers of Smoke Exposure

"Know Your Smoke" Symposium to Deliver Life-Saving Awareness on Dangerous Effects of "Toxic Twins" CO and HCN for Firefighters and Emergency Responders

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Mar 21, 2013) - RAE Systems Inc., a leading provider of toxic gas monitoring systems, will collaborate with the U.S. based Fire Smoke Coalition to deliver the "Know Your Smoke: The Dangers of Fire Smoke Exposure" training program for firefighters and medical responders in Queensland, Australia on March 25-26, and Victoria, Australia on March 27-28, 2013.

Both training sessions are free, and will provide firefighters with invaluable education on the dangerous health effects of fire smoke exposure, as well as new information about how to work safely and effectively in the presence of fire smoke. Interested parties can register for this free first responder training event online at

The Queensland training will take place at the Sasgar Fire and Rescue located at 65 Bachouse Place, in Eagle Farm. The Victoria training will be held at Reading Cinema-Cinema 2, Dandenong Plaza Shopping Center, in Dandenong. 

The training includes a classroom session followed by a practical session that will allow firefighters to experience first-hand the dangerous toxicants that exist in today's fire smoke through the use of atmospheric monitoring equipment. The practical will focus on monitoring for HCN and CO because those are the only two treatable toxicants if smoke exposure occurs. During the burns, instructors will teach firefighters how to conduct atmospheric monitoring at every fire scene while burning household items such as plastics, foams, synthetics, laminates and roofing materials. Most importantly, firefighters will learn that every fire scene is a HazMat environment -- a cultural shift for fire departments throughout the world.

"Firefighters need to pay better attention to the dangers of fire smoke, and the short and long-term health risks it presents," stated Rob Schnepp, Chief of Special Operations with the Alameda County (Calif.) Fire Department and lead instructor at the FireSmoke training events. "There is a culture among firefighters that in some ways makes us our own worst enemy. Many of consider smoke-filled uniforms or soot-covered faces a badge of honor and not the telltale signs of exposure to dangers gases and particulates that are known to cause cancer."

Seminar Educates Emergency Personnel on Toxic Twins™: CO and HCN
Toxic gas monitoring systems are essential components of fire department equipment. The "Know Your Smoke" event will help educate firefighters and emergency personnel on their effective use to avoid toxic gas exposure during fireground operations. Leading fire service experts on hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and carbon monoxide (CO) smoke toxicology will speak on topics including:

"This program offers our local firefighters the opportunity to learn from leading U.S. industry experts about the hidden dangers of HCN and CO that is commonly found in fire smoke. Their depth of knowledge and vast experience in real fire situations has potential to be of enormous benefit in fast tracking similar life-saving initiatives in Australia," said Shan Raffel, Brisbane coordinator for the event and a member of Queensland Fire and Rescue. 

Smoke Inhalation Deaths in Australia
In 2004, a study entitled "Carbon Monoxide and Cyanide Poisoning in Fire Related Deaths in Victoria, Australia" was published in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology. According to researchers, this was the first research project undertaken in Australia that investigated the correlation between carboxyhemoglobin and whole blood cyanide levels in victims of fire related deaths. In the end, "the study demonstrated that many of the victims die with elevated whole blood cyanide levels.1 The availability of a non-toxic cyanide antidote would allow safe empiric treatment of victims without putting the non-poisoned at risk." This training program will teach first responders and the medical community about antidotal treatments that are available for treatment of the smoke inhalation victim, which includes firefighters.

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About Fire Smoke Coalition
The mission of the Fire Smoke Coalition is to focus the required attention and resources on the deadly and life-long consequences of breathing fire smoke by teaching firefighters and first responders how to prevent, protect, detect, diagnose and appropriately treat fire smoke exposure if it occurs. Learn more at

About RAE Systems
RAE Systems innovates, designs and manufacturers gas sensors and radiation detectors. The company offers a full line of fixed and portable gas detection solutions, including handheld and personal chemical, compound and radiation detection instruments. RAE Systems' real-time safety and detection systems have been deployed by organizations in the oil and gas, fire and hazmat, industrial safety, national security and environmental markets, helping save lives and maintain safety in 120 countries. The company's industry-leading gas sensors and radiation detection solutions are widely recognized for their performance and reliability. Learn more at

1 Michael J. Yeoh, M.B., B.S., D.A. (UK), F.A.C.E.M,*and George Braitberg, M.B., B.S., F.A.C.E.M., Dip. A.B.E.M., 1Clinical Forensic Medicine, Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Southbank, Victoria, Australia
2 Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
3 Emergency Department, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
Journal of Toxicology, CLINICAL TOXICOLOGY, Vol. 42, No. 6, pp. 855-863, 2004