Fire EMS, Firefighter Training, Firefighting

Fire Smoke Coalition Announces “Know Your Smoke” Training Schedule

“Know Your Smoke: The Dangers of Fire Smoke Exposure” training program has gained tremendous momentum throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.  Given the significant departmental and behavioral changes directly related to the training, the Coalition will increase the number of programs and its reach in 2013.  

“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 (CA) Fire and lead instructor for the Know Your Smoke training program.  This free training session will teach firefighters about the complexities of the combustion process during which numerous gases and toxicants are produced, most especially Hydrogen Cyanide and Carbon Monoxide, known as the Toxic Twins for the synergistic and deadly impact to the body; how to prevent smoke exposure and, most important to the communities they serve, how pre-hospital treatment of the smoke inhalation victim must include the consideration for cyanide exposure or poisoning.  

In fire smoke, hydrogen cyanide can be up to 35 times more toxic than carbon monoxide, an underappreciated risk that can cause severe injury or death within minutes.  In a review of major fires over a 19-year period, cyanide was found at toxic-to-lethal levels in the blood of approximately 33 percent to 87 percent of fatalities.  What’s important for firefighters to understand is that chronic or acute inhalation, absorption or ingestion of Hydrogen Cyanide can have immediate or long-term effects on the heart and brain.  This training will provide the tools to insure firefighters understand just how to prevent the exposure.

The first quarter of 2013 includes training sessions in the Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and Australia (Brisbane and Melbourne). For those attending FDIC, the Coalition will host a pre-conference “Know Your Smoke” workshop as well.  

For more information and registration, please visit