RAE Systems

October 12, 2012 17:13 ET

RAE Systems and Fire Smoke Coalition Team to Deliver Firefighter and Emergency Responder Training in Alberta

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

VERMILION, AB--(Marketwire - Oct 12, 2012) - RAE Systems Inc., a leading provider of 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 throughout the province of Alberta from October 20-21, 2012.

The free training will take place at Lakeland College Emergency Training Centre in Vermilion, Alberta, Canada. Interested parties can register for this first-responder training event online at

The conference includes a classroom session on Saturday and a practical session on Sunday. The live burn practical will focus on the proper use of atmospheric monitoring equipment with an emphasis on monitoring for hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and carbon monoxide (CO) -- two highly toxic, yet treatable, components of fire smoke. 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.

Paramount to the training, firefighters will learn why every fire scene is a HazMat environment -- which is a cultural change for fire departments throughout the world.

"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.

During a recent call by a fire unit in California, gas-detection equipment was used following an apartment fire to check adjacent structures exposed to just smoke. Atmospheric monitoring equipment revealed 50 parts-per-million (ppm) of HCN was present, a potentially lethal level that would have put civilians in extreme danger. Fortunately, gas detection monitoring standards were in place, ensuring civilians were evacuated and saved from a lethal exposure to cyanide.

The Toxic Twins1: CO and HCN
Gas monitoring systems are an essential life-saving component of fire-department equipment. The "Know Your Smoke" event will educate firefighters and emergency personnel on their effective use to avoid dangerous smoke inhalation, especially during overhaul operations. Leading fire service experts on HCN and CO smoke toxicology will speak in a classroom setting.

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. and 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.2

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 "The Toxic Twins" is a registered trademark of the Fire Smoke Coalition.

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