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Golden Square ready to monitor the atmosphere
After weeks of training, Golden Square Fire Brigade now has two new MSA Altair 5X gas detectors, one on the pumper and the other on the salvage unit.
The MSA Altair 5X is capable of detecting and measuring concentrations of oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen cyanide, flammable gases and vapours in the atmosphere. It is ideally suited to post suppression, structure fire atmospheric monitoring, also any fires that produce significant amounts of smoke, carbon monoxide alarms/incidents and any incident involving flammable gases or vapours such as natural gas leaks, LPG leaks or flammable liquid spills.
The Altair 5X is not designed to be utilised to identify unknown substances in a hazardous materials incident context.
Brigade Captain and Atmospheric Monitoring Instructor Tim McNeilly said, “it is critical for brigades to understand the dangers involved in having firefighters working around or inside a fire-involved structure without BA and this extends all the way through to the overhaul phase of the fire. The process of combustion produces significant concentrations of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide which can be deadly.”
Firefighters should not be conducting post-suppression overhaul on a structure fire without BA unless the building has been cleared using atmospheric monitoring or in the absence of a gas detector, vented naturally for at least 30mins after the last bit of burning material is extinguished. The use of a P2 particle mask will protect firefighters from airborne solid particles but provides no protection from toxic gases and therefore should not be utilised when combustion is still occurring.
It is also important for brigades to understand the implications of utilising a positive pressure fan without an exhaust extension hose to ventilate a structure. The use of the fan without the extension hose will result in an increased concentration of carbon monoxide inside the building due to the exhaust fumes being drawn through the fan.
CFA uses a standard of 9ppm (parts per million) or below as a safe concentration of carbon monoxide inside a structure as the level for the removal of BA and also for residents/occupiers to be allowed back into the structure.
Article Courtesy of Tim McNeilly