SOURCE: RAE Systems

RAE Systems

January 18, 2013 08:01 ET

RAE Systems and Fire Smoke Coalition Deliver Colorado-Based Firefighter and Responder Training

"Know Your Smoke" Symposium Delivers Life-Saving Awareness on the Dangerous Chronic and Acute Effects of Smoke Exposure

SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - Jan 18, 2013) - RAE Systems Inc., a leading provider of toxic gas monitoring systems, will collaborate with the Fire Smoke Coalition to deliver the "Know Your Smoke: The Dangers of Fire Smoke Exposure" conference for firefighters, first responders, and emergency medical providers in Fort Collins, Colo., January 20, 2013.

The free training will take place at Poudre Fire Authority Training Center. Interested parties can register for this free first-responder training event online at http://www.firesmokevss.org.

The conference includes a classroom session on Sunday followed by a two-hour live burn practical. The live burn practical will focus on the proper use of atmospheric monitoring equipment with an emphasis on monitoring HCN and CO because those are the only two treatable toxicants if smoke exposure occurs.

During the live burn practical session, the 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 important to the entire training session is firefighters will learn that every fire scene is a HazMat environment -- a cultural change for fire departments throughout the world. 

"There are still a lot of wide-spread misconceptions about the dangers of fire smoke and because we typically see a significant spike in fire related incidents during the holiday season, it's important to increase awareness and provide this resource now," stated Shawn Longerich, Executive Director of the Fire Smoke Coalition. "These events are critical in keeping firefighters and the public-at-large safe and informed about the negative health effects of smoke exposure during a particularly dangerous time of year."

"Know Your Smoke" Seminar Educates Emergency Personnel on Toxic Twins: CO and HCN
Toxic gas monitoring systems are an essential life-saving component of fire department equipment. The "Know Your Smoke" event will help educate firefighters and emergency personnel on their effective use to avoid dangerous smoke inhalation, most especially during overhaul operations. Leading fire service experts on hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and carbon monoxide (CO) smoke toxicology will speak in a classroom setting.

Recently, emergency responders in California reported that following an apartment building fire, gas detection equipment was used to check adjacent structures exposed to smoke only. These gas monitors revealed 50 PPM of Hydrogen Cyanide, which could have been lethal to civilians and responders if not detected. Fortunately, because gas detection was used, people were evacuated and saved from lethal exposure. "In today's smoke-filled environments, it's not about how much you can stand, it's about how little will kill you," said Chief Rob Schnepp, Alameda County (Calif.) Fire Department.

Smoke-Related Injuries Increase Need for CO and HCN Detectors

  • According to the NFPA, between 1981 and 2010, 174,145 firefighters were injured by smoke inhalation. Firefighter Injuries in the United States, Michael J. Karter, Jr., Joseph L. Molis, 2011.
  • In the United States, residential fires are the third leading cause of fatal injury and the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury death, yet the majority of fire-related fatalities are not caused by burns, but by smoke inhalation. 
  • Despite the amount of fires in the U.S. decreasing each year, the amount of civilians dying in fires is actually increasing. For example, in 2009, 1,348,500 fires were attended by public fire departments, a decrease of 7.1 percent from the year before; however, 3,010 civilian fire deaths occurred, which is an increase of 9.3 percent.i

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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 the exposure if it occurs. Learn more at www.firesmoke.org.

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 raesystems.com.

i United States Fire Administration; Fire Loss in the United States in 2009; Michael J. Karter.