According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 175,000 firefighters were injured by smoke inhalation between 1981 and 2010. And despite the fact that the number of fires in the U.S. is decreasing each year, the amount of civilians and firefighters dying in fires is actually increasing. To help educate firefighters on these dangers, RAE Systems, Inc. will collaborate with the Fire Smoke Coalition to deliver the "Know Your Smoke: The Dangers of Fire Smoke Exposure" Symposium for firefighters and first responders in Toms River, New Jersey, on September 21, 2013.
The free training will take place at the Toms River Fire Academy, located at 1780 Church Road, Toms River, NJ. The training will provide firefighters with an invaluable resource for education on the dangerous health effects of fire smoke exposure and protocol on how to proceed safely and effectively during fire ground operations. Those who would like to attend can register online here.
The conference includes a classroom session on Saturday, September 21, followed by a burn and smoke practical. The burn practical will focus on the proper use of atmospheric monitoring equipment, with an emphasis on monitoring HCN and CO. These are the only two treatable toxicants if smoke exposure occurs.
During the live-burn session, the instructors will focus on teaching firefighters how to conduct atmospheric monitoring at every fire scene — while burning household items such as plastics, foams, synthetics, laminates and roofing materials. Most important, firefighters will learn that every fire scene is a HazMat environment — a cultural shift for fire departments throughout the world.
"Firefighters need to pay better attention to the dangers of fire smoke, and the short- and long-term health risks it presents," stated Rob Schnepp, Chief of Special Operations with the Alameda County (Calif.) Fire Department. "There is a culture among firefighters that in some ways makes us our own worst enemy. Many of us consider smoke-filled uniforms or soot-covered faces a badge of honor and hard work, and not the telltale signs of exposure to dangerous gases and particulates that are known to cause cancer. The ‘Know Your Smoke’ training program is an invaluable resource helping firefighters make better, more informed decisions during firefighting operations."
About Fire Smoke Coalition The mission of the Fire Smoke Coalition is to focus the required attention and resources on the deadly and life-long consequences of breathing fire smoke by teaching firefighters and first responders how to prevent, protect, detect, diagnose, and appropriately treat the exposure if it occurs. Learn more at www.firesmoke.org.