Tech Zone

Remote Gas Detection with Handheld Lasers

Issue 11 and Volume 172.

BY JERRY KNAPP Fire departments across our nation are more frequently called to minor and major natural gas emergencies since recent natural gas explosions and fires with fatalities have increased public awareness. Recent firefighter line-of-duty deaths (LODDs) and injuries have repeatedly demonstrated our vulnerabilities at these dangerous alarms. Our mission at natural gas emergencies is to protect civilian and firefighter lives. Fulfilling our mission effectively depends on rapid, detailed, and effective size-up. We are skilled at fire size-up because of our training and experience, but we have received very limited training on size-up and response procedures for natural gas emergencies. However, the new technology described below may change that. Laser Technology New technology combined with a handheld instrument enables you to size up natural gas emergencies more quickly, accurately, and effectively to help firefighters accomplish their mission of life safety. Using tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS), laser technology allows…

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