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RAE Systems and Fire Smoke Coalition to Deliver Arlington-Based Training on the "Toxic Twins" - The Hidden Dangers of Fire Smoke

Know Your Smoke Training Delivers Life-saving Awareness On Dangerous Effects of Smoke Exposure to Firefighters and Emergency Personnel San Jose, Calif. – February 08, 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 and emergency responders in Arlington, Texas, February 9, 2013.The free training will take place at 5501 Ron McAndrew Drive and provides firefighters with an invaluable resource for education on the dangerous health effects of fire smoke exposure, as well as protocol on how to proceed safely and effectively in dangerous smoke inhalation situations.  The 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 practical session, 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. “THERE is a culture among firefighters that in some ways makes us our own worst enemy. Many of us consider smoke-filled uniforms or soot-covered faces a badge of honor and hard work, and not the telltale signs of exposure to dangerous gases and particulates that are known to cause cancer. The ‘Know Your Smoke’ training program is an invaluable resource for helping firefighters make better, more informed decisions during firefighting operations.” Seminar Educates Emergency Personnel on Toxic Twins: CO and HCNSteve Hendrix, Captain / Health and Safety for Arlington Fire Department, attended this program two years ago. “After participating in this training, I was able to bring new education back to the department. Eventually, the training caused broad sweeping changes to internal protocols relative to atmospheric monitoring at every fire scene, new thoughts regarding air management and more current treatment protocols for smoke inhalation victims that give consideration to cyanide poisoning requiring appropriate antidotal treatment which ultimately was responsible for saving two civilians. Having the opportunity to host this program to educate other firefighters in surrounding areas is an honor. This is life-saving education that not only makes safer firefighters – but safer communities.” 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, especially during overhaul operations. 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

About Fire Smoke CoalitionThe 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. 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. 

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