Leadership

THE USE OF ATMOSPHERIC MONITORS BY SUPPRESSION PERSONNEL

Issue 5 and Volume 156.

BY STEVEN M. DE LISI Many fire departments have recently equipped their emergency response units with various types of portable atmospheric monitors to detect and measure the presence of gases and vapors that could be hazardous to their personnel and the public. Included in this new arsenal are devices that can measure one type of hazard, such as the concentration of an explosive or toxic gas, and multigas atmospheric monitors that can simultaneously measure these hazards along with oxygen content. If you recently had an opportunity to use one of these devices, consider the following questions: Was the device correctly calibrated? If the device was designed to measure combustible gases, what type of gas was used to calibrate it? What was the vapor density of the gas or vapor you were attempting to measure? Was this substance heavier or lighter than air? What was the device’s response time—i.e., how long…

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