RAE Systems

June 28, 2012 09:01 ET

RAE Systems and Fire Smoke Coalition to Provide Training in Augusta, Maine for Firefighters and Emergency Responders

"Know Your Smoke" Symposium to Deliver Critical Information on the Dangerous Chronic and Acute Effects of Smoke Exposure Including HCN and CO

AUGUSTA, ME--(Marketwire - Jun 28, 2012) - 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 medical providers in Augusta, Maine from June 29-30, 2012.

The free training will take place at the Florian Hall (Public Safety Building) in Augusta, Maine. Interested parties can register for this first-responder training event online at

The conference includes a classroom session on Friday as well as a live burn practical on Saturday. 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 focus on teaching firefighters how to conduct atmospheric monitoring at every fire scene through practical burn training exercises while burning household items such as plastics, foams, synthetics, laminates and roofing materials.

"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. 

"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.

The "Know Your Smoke" event offers invaluable education about the dangerous chronic and acute effects of smoke exposure. Focus areas include the following:

  • Fire Smoke: Perceptions, Myths and Misunderstandings
  • Air Management and NFPA 1404
  • Atmospheric Monitoring on Every Fire Scene (HCN & CO)
  • Pre-hospital HCN (Hydrogen Cyanide) Assessment and Antidotal Treatment

Smoke-Related Injuries Increase Need for CO and HCN Detectors
Just this week, Maine experienced a line of duty death. Chief George S Davis, 62, Hollis Fire Department, Hollis Maine, died on Saturday June 23, 2012, of an apparent heart attack. Chief Davis was found outside of his home by family members shortly after returning from a fire call. While the cause of the heart attack is not known, what is known is that hydrogen cyanide in fire smoke attacks the heart and brain and acute and/or chronic exposure can be a cause of cardiac-related deaths.

  • 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.1

Learn More, See More

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

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