While carbon dioxide (CO2) incidents are relatively uncommon, especially compared to their carbon monoxide counterparts, they can prove lethal in the wrong circumstances.
Monitoring the air for oxygen levels, toxins and combustibles is an essential skill in ensuring the health and safety of first response personnel when operating in confined space environments.
Often the risk posed by these types of spaces will be immediately obvious - such as when conducting a rescue within a storage tank, silo, sewer or enclosed drainage system.
Occasionally though, the risk may be less apparent - for example if working in an open-topped chamber or a poorly ventilated room.
When we think about all of the hazardous materials that a first responder might potentially expect to come into contact with, it is the things that can't be sensed that can often be the hardest to control.
And when an incident is unfolding inside a confined space, even the most subtle of changes in the atmosphere have the potential to be not just harmful but life threatening.
According to statistics released by the US Bureau of Labor, more than 2 million workers enter a permit required confined space environment every year for the purposes of routine maintenance, repairs, or inspections.
For many years now, multi-gas meters have served as an invaluable resource to protect the environment and aid in the safe operations of technical rescue teams, firefighters and HazMat crews.
While there are a wide variety of gas detector products currently available, they have all been designed with one common goal in mind - to provide the user with a visual or audio indication as to the hazardous nature of the environment they are about to enter.
The growth in global industry and manufacturing, together with the ever-present risk of terrorist threat, means emergency personnel are increasingly being required to respond to incidents where there is risk of exposure to explosive atmospheres, low or enriched oxygen, or the presence of lethal toxic vapours.
For response crews arriving on scene there are two essential questions to consider. Is the air safe enough to breathe? And are there any specific toxic gases present?
Gas detection is fundamental to emergency response - and multi-gas detectors are the ideal tools for serving the majority of first responders' gas detection needs.
Ensuring that crews have access to the right air-monitoring equipment, and that they're trained in how to use it, is essential for enabling them to make confident decisions in complex scenarios.
In this blog post we provide an overview of the most common types of air-monitoring equipment. And we explore how gas detection simulators can aid in the effectiveness of first response training.