This month’s Roundtable question was: Do you conduct atmospheric monitoring at fires and what additional steps if any are taken to protect firefighters during the overhaul phase of a fire? Read Skip Coleman’s initial reply HERE.
Response: Our department enforces a basic policy requiring SCBA use in any toxic atmosphere. Overhauling presents a problem, since it is seldom obvious when a “safe” level is reached and the SCBA can be removed.
Response: We monitor for oxygen, carbon monoxide, lower exposure level, hydrogen sulfide (normal set-up on our quad-gas meters) as well as hydrogen cyanide. In addition, we ventilate with an electric positive-pressure ventilation fan during investigation. Not until all readings are within acceptable limits are personnel inside the building allowed to doff their SCBA. Monitoring is continued as long as personnel are still working in the structure. No structure is released with any abnormal readings noted.