Hazmat monitors get an upgrade in the Windy City
The Chicago Fire Department recently replaced the multigas monitors on all 160 of its engine and truck companies with QRAE II models from RAE Systems. More than 3,500 firefighters were trained on the device in the week of initial deployment.
“It’s for the safety of our personnel,” said Dan O’Connell, CFD’s hazmat chief and WMD coordinator. “Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, and it affects everyone differently.”
In fact, many people don’t realize they’ve been exposed until they become ill. O’Connell cited an incident earlier this month in which firefighters responded to a call in a 5-story L-shaped condominium building. A carpet-cleaning crew left their vehicle idling in the building’s parking garage. A Level 2 hazmat response became necessary, and firefighters evacuated the building—forcibly entering 30 units. Hazmat monitors displayed CO readings as high as 600 ppm, and the building had to be force-ventilated before residents could return.
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