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How to Clean a Gas Detector

gas detector in gloved hand

First Published by Industrial Scientific, March 13, 2020

Personal gas monitors are lifesaving instruments that must be worn in your breathing zone to be effective. OSHA defines the breathing zone as “a hemisphere forward of the shoulders within a radius of approximately six to nine inches,” so a collar, lapel, or outside breast pocket is usually a good option. This location also keeps the monitor visible so you can see alerts if your hearing is impaired while working in a high-noise environment.

Unfortunately, wearing a gas detector within six to nine inches of your nose and mouth means that whatever dirt, grime, or bacteria your monitor has picked up is now in your breathing zone.

If you need to clean your personal gas monitor, your first instinct might be to grab a disinfecting wipe, like you would for any other surface. This is a bad idea.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Regular Disinfectants

The precision sensors in your monitor are highly sensitive to many different chemicals, including alcohol and other disinfectants, so using them could prevent your monitor from alerting you to gas hazards. Additionally, alcohol-based cleaners will cause your monitor to go into alarm. If you zero the monitor too soon, the monitor will read falsely low, potentially putting you in unsafe conditions.

The rubber, plastics, and barriers in your monitor can also absorb the disinfectant chemicals. This is problematic because these are some of the same chemicals you may monitor. This effect does not last long, but the length of time you need to wait before zeroing varies, so the approach leaves plenty of room for error.

How to Clean a Gas Detector— Without Damaging It

For typical dirt and grime, we recommend wiping down your gas detector with a soap and water solution of 8 to 10 parts water to one part dish soap, like Dawn®. This cleans the monitor with less risk of damaging the sensors or putting you at risk of a malfunction. However, the soap and water approach cleans the monitor of everyday buildup—it does not necessarily kill bacteria or viruses that may exist on the surface.

To give your monitor a more serious cleaning, wipe down your monitor with a bleach and water solution of approximately 50 parts water to one part bleach recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC advises using 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water (approximately 20 milliliters per liter).

You can use this same method to sanitize a docking station, allowing it to dry completely before use.

For more information on general practices for disinfection, please refer to the CDC’s Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations.

No matter which cleaning method you use, be sure to dock the monitor or bump test it to be sure it’s working properly.

Download a printable PDF of this blog post.

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Cleaning and Disinfecting 3M™ Scott™ Reusable Full Facepiece Respirators, Regulators, and Demand Valves Following Potential Exposure to Coronaviruses

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During coronavirus outbreaks, some First Responder organizations may assign reusable respirators to workers providing care for persons with suspected cases of coronavirus. This document contains considerations related to cleaning and disinfecting certain 3M Scott respirators that will be reused after potential exposure to coronaviruses.

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Nine Technologies that will Transform the Fire Service

firefighter with Scott Safety SCBA

Smart technologies like artificial intelligence, mixed reality or autonomous vehicles are being deployed by first responders in ways hardly imagined even just a decade ago. As firefighters grow accustomed to current technologies, other innovations such as use of big data, biotelemetry, facial recognition software, 360 video and the leveraging of gaming technology are beginning to emerge.

The integration of these systems will help streamline everything from pre-planning to emergency mitigation to post incident analysis. However, adoption of this technology will depend on usability and intuitive interfaces that allow seamless integration into current operations. For example, applications such as Scott Connect Monitor automatically pulls air management data with very little effort from an incident commander and puts real-time responder information at the IC’s fingertips.

“Technology is only as good as its usability,” said Jerry Shanko, accountability and software product manager for Scott Safety. “Bells and whistles are great, but if it’s not intuitive and doesn’t solve problems, then firefighters are much less likely to adopt new technologies.”

Here’s a list of nine technologies that could potentially change the way firefighters do their jobs.

1) Advanced biotelemetry

In addition to heart rate, biotelemetry will provide knowledge of a firefighter’s lactate levels which will notify managers how hard interior crews are working. Coupled with current connected monitoring of personnel and integrated with air management, advanced biotelemetry will keep responders safer in the IDLH environment.

2) Artificial intelligence, or AI

Future AI will provide real-time traffic analytics for time “closest” dispatches, object recognition through computer vision and will warn interior crews of pending flash-over and backdraft environments created on physics based computational computing.

3) Virtual, mixed and augmented reality (VR/MxR/AR)

The focus is to provide citizen education, responder training and emergency response enhancement through these emerging platforms. Children will soon learn stop, drop and roll in virtual reality through haptic touch and digital scent. Responders will mitigate imagined and genuine emergencies with technology developed for the gaming industry, leveraged for real-time visual awareness in visually immersive environs.

4) Autonomous vehicles

On the ground and in the air programmable vehicles will transport first responders and equipment before, during and post incident and reduce human-error caused collisions. These wheeled and winged vehicles will also play an important role in collecting and delivering data to responders via GPS, remote sensing and 3D 360 degree imagery capabilities.

5) Computer vision, edge detection and object recognition

Several systems have been developed by public (NASA) and private groups that allow firefighters in-facepiece vision, providing digitized and contrasted edge detection, in addition to thermal imaging. These new systems allow onboard object recognition that will transmit warnings to unaware firefighters and advise of imminent collapse of floors and roof assemblies.

6) Facial recognition software

This type of software is already assisting law enforcement in protecting those they serve. In the future, fire and medical personal will use this form of computer vision to allow a responder to know an unconscious patient’s identity, next of kin, treatment permission and medical history.

7) 360 video

These cameras are being used below water, from the ground and in the sky and can educate citizens and responders in many aspects of fire and life safety. Via social media they already provide visual displays in real time that allow responders to intellectually understand active shooter, flood, fire and collapse scenes prior to arrival.

8) Big data and the Internet of Things (BD/IOT)

Responders will have advanced situational awareness systems that utilize various sets of data and along with multi sensor fusion and the IOT that will have lifesaving advantages, both for emergency personal and potential victims as well. BD/IOT will remain a focus area where network security is a known and essential subject in these developing platforms.

9) SMART Cities

These types of initiatives around the globe bring it all together by providing 3D/360 digital assets for fire prevention, response mitigation and investigations. The use of digital design has been a staple for decades and fire prevention bureaus will be part of a previously unimaginable set of target safety maps that will interface with responder’s phones, tablets, facepieces and augmented reality; akin to “Ironman” stylized safety systems.


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The dangers of HCN exposure during fire overhaul

gas detector

From Industrial Scientific, August 2019

When firefighters attack a structure fire, the hazards to life and health are obvious. The flames, the roiling smoke, and the extreme heat are clear reminders that carelessness can lead to tragic consequences. Once the fire is extinguished, however, the operation transitions to the more routine phase of salvage and overhaul. At this point, first responders can be lulled into a false sense of security because the most serious hazard is now largely invisible—toxic gases in the environment.

Research has shown that these toxins linger at alarming levels well after the fire has been extinguished. But because most firefighters do not carry portable gas detectors, they’re probably unaware of the danger and may remove their SCBA mask and risk inhaling toxic fumes.

Fire smoke is a complex mix of toxins, and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) has emerged as one of the most common and dangerous. While carbon monoxide (CO) often gets the attention, HCN is commonly found alongside it, and together, they’re known as the “toxic twins.” Both are asphyxiants, meaning they interfere with the body’s ability to process oxygen. Individually they’re dangerous. Together, they’re even more deadly.

Historically, HCN was not a concern after a typical house fire. But as the use of synthetic materials began to replace natural materials in the construction industry, HCN has become more prevalent. When heated, these fibers and petroleum-based products emit HCN at levels unseen by earlier firefighters.

How Dangerous is HCN Gas Exposure?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has determined that at 50 ppm, HCN can render someone unable to escape to safety, and thus is immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH). But even at much lower levels, the long-term health effects are a concern. At only 4.7 ppm, exposure should be limited to fifteen minutes per day.

After a fire, it’s not unusual for firefighters to experience headaches, sore throat, and nausea. Unfortunately, few firefighters connect these symptoms to inhaling toxic gases. According to the Centers for Disease Control, early symptoms of cyanide poisoning include lightheadedness, rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, feeling of neck constriction and suffocation, confusion, restlessness, and anxiety.1

While a single exposure to high concentrations of HCN is concerning, it’s the repeated exposures over a lifetime of firefighting that pose long-term harm to the human body. Each exposure damages cells, and the heart, brain, and nervous system are especially prone to degradation. This is why it’s important for firefighters to monitor gas concentrations during overhaul.

When is it Safe to Remove my SCBA?

Considering the dangers posed by HCN and other toxic gasses, how do you know when it is safe to remove an SCBA?

One solution is to train firefighters to always wear SCBAs during overhaul. The problem with this approach is obvious: SCBA gear is hot and restrictive. When safety practices become onerous, no matter how well-intentioned, people tend to ignore them.

A better solution is to don SCBA gear when atmospheric conditions require it. This means carrying a portable gas detector which will alarm when HCN or other gases rise to hazardous levels.

At Industrial Scientific, our portable gas detectors are engineered for this kind of application. The Ventis® Pro5 Multi-Gas Monitor is ideal for monitoring HCN and other gases during overhaul because its custom notifications make safety instructions clear and easy. For example, you can configure the monitor to display “Wear SCBA” when HCN or other gases reach dangerous levels. This removes any doubt about how you should respond. Using the Ventis Pro5 to monitor gas concentrations during overhaul also means you only need one meter to monitor up to five gases. In addition to carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) sensors, fire departments typically use lower explosive limit (LEL), oxygen (O2), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) sensors. Industrial Scientific offers a wide selection of additional sensors, so you can choose the ones most relevant to the hazards your department will likely encounter.

Learn more online about Industrial Scientific’s full line of gas detection solutions for fire and emergency response teams.


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10 Ways You Should Think About SCBA Comfort


You may think the comfort of an SCBA is subjective, but it’s really not. Here are 10 obvious—and not so obvious—ways firefighters should judge the comfort of their SCBA.

1. Realistic Movement

The SCBA feels nice on your back, right? When you tried it on in the training room, it felt good. When you did some light work during the evaluation, it didn’t feel bad, did it? Try donning the SCBA and make some actual fireground movements. Bend over and twist. Reach. Run. Judge comfort on the full range of motions, not just light work in a training room.

2. Air Delivery

An SCBA is meant to deliver air when you probably wouldn’t survive without it. Let that sink in for a moment. You probably wouldn’t survive without it. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a very uncomfortable situation. First thing I would think of when it comes to this issue of comfort is how comfortable I am with the delivery of that air. A sweatshirt is comfortable to wear. But will you still be comfortable when running into a smoky hallway with it on your back in place of an SCBA? No, you wouldn’t because you are shopping for an SCBA to deliver air to you in that hallway and a sweatshirt would not do that.

3. Notifications

Does your SCBA notify you if you have a debris-induced failure limiting your air? Maybe you got some material consistent with drywall filler inside your system that started to plug air flow through the reducer or plug the filter, possibly during a cylinder change when you were in a rush (not like anyone is ever in a rush doing a cylinder change on scene). What if I told you that my SCBA was likely the only one in the world with a complete backup pressure reducer which would take over in that situation, AND NOTIFY YOU that you were starting to have a problem with air flow? Is that comforting?

4. Automatic Mayday Signals

Imagine you and your crew were in a nasty fire and you were almost at the point where you felt trapped. Then the guy with the radio gets pinned and can’t reach his mayday button. Uncomfortable? Definitely! An SCBA should send an automatic mayday signal to the outside if you go motionless. Anyone can simply hit a button on their SCBA to alert the fireground of a possible or actual mayday, even without a radio. Does that make you feel just a little more comfortable as you approach that hallway?

5. Size and Durability of Components

During the evaluation of SCBA, what if I showed you the inside of my SCBA and the size/durability of the components? Would that make you feel comfortable smashing yourself through a small opening during a profile move?

6. Financial Comfort

What is the real cost of an SCBA? Notice the word cost and not price. Our SCBA might not be priced lower than everyone, but over the course of the life, it will cost you less to own. Does it make you feel comfortable knowing that you made a decision that the next 15 years’ worth of firefighters and officers will thank you for when their budgets get pinched even tighter? You may not care about budgets in your job, until they have to start cutting other resources you need to fulfill mandatory SCBA overhauls.

7. Unnecessary Mandatory Overhauls

Who wants to replace components just for the sake of replacing components? You have enough to worry about with your job, let alone worrying about whether you performed an overhaul to the SCBA. We design the SCBA to stand the test of time. We also have the finest technicians in the industry working on the best equipment, just in case something goes wrong. With simple testing procedures performed by a Scott certified technician every year, our SCBA just keep working.

8. Recertification of Technicians

Speaking of our technicians, isn’t it comforting to know how often they have to recertify with us? We audit them annually, we host annual service summits, they recertify regularly, and we are constantly making sure they are up to speed and staying best in class with proper tools and education.

9. Air Consumption

Have you ever stopped to think where the air is going when your low air warning device activates? How critical is that air? Would it make you comfortable knowing the air from the Vibralert is maintained inside of the facepiece rather than dumping directly into the ambient atmosphere? Our SCBA works efficiently so that you can work effectively… and safely might I add.

10. Extensive End-User Network

Would you feel comfortable knowing that the local fire organizations around you likely use Scott Safety SCBA? How about the national fire academies and the state/local fire training schools? Does their trust in Scott Safety make you feel comfortable?

I don’t know about you, but I find comfort knowing that our SCBA are reliable, trusted, durable, and easy to use. That’s what the U.S. fire service deserves and that’s what Scott Safety builds for you.


Find out more about Scott Safety Air-Pak X3 and Air-Pak X3 Pro.

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Simple Maintenance – The most important feature for fire department gas detectors

firefighters with hose

From Industrial Scientific, July 2019

As information on the hidden dangers of fire smoke proliferates, a growing number of firefighters are realizing that gas monitors are a vital part of their turnout gear. Atmospheric testing at fire scenes has shown toxic fumes at every stage of the fire, and without a portable gas detector, there is no sure way to determine whether the air in the cold zone is actually safe to breathe.

Acquiring the right gas detectors for your fire station is a double-edged sword, however. On the one hand, it’s an invaluable tool for atmospheric monitoring, but it’s also one more piece of equipment that needs regular maintenance. This leads to one of two unfortunate scenarios: to avoid the maintenance hassle, a department will neglect gas monitoring altogether, or it will make the purchase but fail to maintain the equipment. The latter choice can be catastrophic, resulting in a failed sensor that always reads zero, regardless of how much toxic gas is in the air.

The good news is that owning a gas monitor doesn’t have to be a high-maintenance relationship. There are systems currently on the market that offer simple, automated maintenance; so, when you’re looking to add gas monitoring capability, it’s important to look beyond price and warranty. You need more than a gas monitor, you need a system that offers simple and worry-free maintenance.

At Industrial Scientific, we’ve solved this gas detector maintenance problem with our DSX Docking Station. This docking station automatically performs maintenance tasks like bump testing and calibration that all gas detectors require. The station is compatible with several models of Industrial Scientific’s gas detectors, including the Ventis® MX4 and Ventis® Pro5.

How Does the Docking Station Work?

When you’re not using it, place the gas monitor on the DSX Docking Station. The station, which is plumbed to a cylinder of calibration gas, will automatically charge the gas monitor, bump test daily, and calibrate according to your company’s safety requirements. Bump test records and calibration certificates are stored digitally and can be accessed when needed. The station even tracks calibration gas levels and cylinder expiration dates and can order new cylinders automatically.

The docking station handles basic monitor diagnostics, as well. This is important because all sensor cells (the small cartridges that respond to the target gas) have a limited life expectancy. If the docking station detects a problem (e.g., the sensor cell’s sensitivity has dropped), it will order a replacement.

Another benefit is the docking station’s data logging capability. Each time it docks with a gas detector, The DSX Docking Station downloads data showing what gases the unit encountered and when, then stores it on the docking station, a local server, or in the cloud. This automated record keeping is invaluable when you need to see gas data from a previous response call.

Look Past the Sticker Price of Gas Monitors

Again, it’s important to look beyond the initial purchase price and warranty terms when choosing your next gas monitor. Examine the hidden costs in both dollars and manpower required to maintain the monitors. Since all portable gas monitors use sensors that can lose sensitivity, every gas detector requires the same kind maintenance: daily bump testing, regularly calibrating, and periodically replacing sensor cells.

The important questions are:

  • Who will handle the maintenance?
  • Can our team afford to spend time on gas monitor logistics?
  • When things get busy (and it’s always busy!), will the detector maintenance get done?

Unfortunately, some manufacturers will obscure the need for ongoing maintenance. Some even claim their product “requires no calibration.” But the laws of physics show no favoritism. All manmade devices require upkeep, especially precision instruments like gas detectors. Anyone serious about safety understands that faith in your equipment is based on testing and validation, not on promises made at the point of sale.

It’s not enough for your fire department to own a gas monitor. It must be reliable, accurate, and ready to go any hour of the day. Industrial Scientific’s gas monitors paired with a DSX Docking Station are engineered to make that possible— and simple.

If you’ve been holding off on adding gas detection to your fire response, now is the time. Read more about how Industrial Scientific is serving the gas detection needs of fire and emergency response teams around the world.


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Could your EMS or Fire Response Team miss dangerous levels of carbon monoxide?

firefighter with gas detector

From Industrial Scientific, September 2019

An EMS team, dispatched from a major metropolitan fire department, rushes to a local hotel where they find a woman nauseated, weak, and unable to get out of bed. The evidence leads to a straightforward diagnosis: it’s flu season, it’s been a bad year for the bug, and the woman seems to have all the symptoms. Bingo. They load her onto a stretcher and transport her to the hospital.

Before the day is over, the fire station receives an alarming phone call from the hospital: the woman does not have the flu after all. Rather, it’s carbon monoxide poisoning. Immediately, firefighters are dispatched back to the hotel, this time to evacuate the building. Upon arrival, responders begin searching rooms, looking for those who might be incapacitated from breathing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Lawsuits soon follow.

If you’re interested in learning more about this tragic episode, talk to retired Fire Captain Joe Buckley. He served as a firefighter in the Pittsburgh area for twenty-five years, and having met fellow firefighters all over the nation, he’s heard this kind of story numerous times. Each story differs in the details, but the key facts remain the same —well-meaning but ill-equipped EMS personnel fail to recognize carbon monoxide poisoning because the symptoms are so similar to common afflictions like the flu or food poisoning.

Having retired from firefighting, Buckley now works for Industrial Scientific as a training specialist, teaching first responders how to use portable gas detectors. He believes, based on years of experience, that any EMS personnel entering a structure ought to be equipped with a portable carbon monoxide (CO) monitor. The detector is a critical diagnostic tool that helps first responders understand what’s really going on in their environment.

Consider the EMS team responding to the woman in the hotel. As can happen to any of us, they succumbed to tunnel vision. They were convinced the data was pointing to a compelling and simple conclusion: this woman has the flu. Imagine, though, if the team had been equipped with a compact CO detector. It would have alarmed as soon as the team entered the building, alerting them to dangerous levels of CO. They would have known immediately that everyone in the hotel was in danger and would have evacuated the building.

Carbon monoxide is an insidious toxin that seems tailor-made to fool the unsuspecting. It’s invisible and odorless, so it’s impossible to detect without specialized equipment. CO poisoning is easily mistaken for the flu because they share many of the same symptoms, including nausea, malaise, headache, and fatigue. And the risk of CO poisoning is greatest during the cold months of flu season. When temperatures drop, people fire up furnaces and kerosene heaters — both sources of CO leaks when defective or improperly ventilated.

Even worse, the remedy for the flu can be fatal if a person is actually suffering from CO poisoning. For the flu, it’s best to stay at home and rest. But if CO is present, immediate evacuation is the proper response. Tragically, it’s not uncommon for victims of CO poisoning to be sent back home to rest— right back to the toxic environment that sent them to the hospital in the first place.1

Here’s the good news. A firefighter doesn’t have to carry around bulky air-sampling equipment to monitor the environment inside a structure. Industrial Scientific’s handheld gas detectors are user-friendly and small enough to be worn as a standard part of a responder’s turnout gear. An audible alarm will sound when dangerous levels of CO are detected so there’s no question about what to do next.

These compact detectors are highly configurable and can monitor up to five gases simultaneously if desired. In addition to CO, a fire department might elect to install additional sensors to alert them to other common hazards such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), and low levels of oxygen (O2).

With colder weather on the horizon, cases of the flu and CO poisoning will rise. This is the perfect time to explore Industrial Scientific’s full line of gas detection solutions for fire and emergency response teams.

1 “Carbon-Monoxide Poisoning can Mimic Flu Symptoms,” from Consumer Reports News: January 07, 2010.


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5 Tips For Washing Your Fire Apparatus

cleaning supplies on vehicle

Keeping your fire apparatus clean is important for several reasons. Not only is it a representation of your fire department and community, it is an investment that must be washed, waxed, and cleaned as part of general preventative maintenance. Keeping fire trucks clean and polished not only clears away potentially harmful dust, dirt, smoke, and chemicals, but also provides an opportunity to closely inspect wear and tear. Why?

Mechanics like a clean truck because they have an easier time performing maintenance and diagnosing any issues when there isn’t a layer of grime or grit.

Regularly washing the apparatus makes it easier to inspect wear and tear, which prevents corrosion and can prolong the life of your department’s investment.

Here are five tips for washing your fire apparatus.

1. Use Cotton Microfiber Towels

Cotton microfiber towels are a cost-effective way to wash a fire truck. They have a soft, absorbent material that won’t mar the finish. They can also be washed easily. Make sure the towels are separated appropriately. Use some towels for washing and drying the apparatus, and reserve other towels for cleaning up spills, like oil or fluid.

Another tip – skip the sponge. Sponges are not ideal for soap application, and they can trap dirt and debris which will end up scratching your truck.

Also (and this can’t be stressed enough) if the towel hits the ground, grab a fresh towel. A towel that has been on the ground collects dirt and debris which can scratch the truck.

2. Use the ‘Two-Bucket Method’

Washing an apparatus the correct way starts with just two buckets. Fill the first bucket with soapy water and fill the second with just water to use for rinsing. First, dip the microfiber towel in the soapy bucket. Once the area is washed, or if you require more soap, rinse your microfiber towel off in the water bucket. After the towel is rinsed, wring it out to remove excess water and dip it back in the soapy bucket. Repeat as necessary.

The goal of the two-bucket method is to reduce the amount of dirt particles that the microfiber towel accumulates. If only one bucket is used to rinse and apply soap, the towel will get dirty very quickly. That dirt will then spread across the apparatus, and the debris will leave scratches in the paint. Grit guards can also be used to further separate dirt from the towel.

3. Wash Panel by Panel, from Top to Bottom

washing tires

Take a look at the truck and map out where different body panels meet and surfaces change. Use this as a guide to effectively wash your apparatus. To make the washing process efficient, go panel by panel. Rinse the microfiber towel and gather more soap each time there is a transition to a different panel. This will keep the soap application consistent and reduce the amount of dirt the towel is picking up each time it is rinsed.

Start from the top of the truck and work downward toward the wheel wells and wheels. Most of the dirt will accumulate around the lower areas of the apparatus, so this will avoid bringing that dirt up and spreading it all over the apparatus, even when using the two-bucket method.

It’s also a good idea to wash the apparatus wheel wells and wheels in a separate washing area. As the dirtiest areas of the apparatus, it is best to contain the dirt and grime to one spot without contaminating the rest of the wash. Many people like to do these areas last.

One final recommendation — don’t forget about the undercarriage! This can be a challenging spot to wash but is critical to keep clean since dirt, debris, and road salt can collect in the nooks and crannies of the undercarriage. Even a simple water rinse of the undercarriage is beneficial.

4. Dry the Apparatus with More Microfiber

Drying a fire apparatus may seem easy, but there are a few things to consider to avoid streaking and water spots. For optimal drying, use large microfiber towels. These are incredibly absorbent towels that will allow you to dry large areas before you grab another dry towel. If you’re stuck washing the apparatus in direct sunlight, water the truck down as you wash to avoid water spots as the truck dries. To avoid streaking and water spots altogether, try to keep the fire truck wet through the wash process, and keep it wet when you begin the drying process.

5. Final Apparatus Cleaning Tip: Instant-Detailer and Polish

washing bumper

After the truck is clean and dry, take some time to polish any chrome or shiny metal. Manually applying polishing compound keeps the apparatus looking its best and also creates a protective barrier between the metal and environmental dirt and small debris. Using a bit of instant-detailer does the same for painted surfaces. Instant-detailer should be applied regularly to help water bead up and run off effectively, keeping your truck looking better, longer. The regular application of polishing compound and detailer will also make it easier to wash the truck in the future since the dirt and grime will come off easier with a simple water rinse.

There are many different methods to clean fire apparatus, but with the tips above, you should be off to a great start.

About Pierce Manufacturing

Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] company, is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus, including custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, minipumpers, elliptical tankers, and homeland security apparatus. In addition, Pierce designs its own foam systems and was the first company to introduce frontal airbags and the Side Roll Protection system to fire apparatus. Pierce markets its products through the industry’s largest and most comprehensive dealer and service network. The company enjoys a nationwide web of dealerships with over 600 certified and factory trained Service Brigade technicians and over 50 service centers. Visit to learn more about Pierce.

MMFSS is proud to supply Pierce Vehicles to Atlantic Canada.

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Fire simulator just like the real thing

fire simulator

AMHERST, Nova Scotia – Amherst’s new fire simulator is so life-like, it’s already led one citizen to believe there was an actual fire.
“We’d just received the panel and had it on the floor simulating different types of fires,” Fire Chief Greg Jones recalled recently.

“Someone driving by thought it was a real fire. He actually came into the station to report it.

“We showed him the simulator. He was impressed because from the street, he said it looked very real.”

During a recent Thursday night training session, several firefighters echoed the man’s comments, saying the simulated fire they doused was the closest they’d come in training to the real thing.

Known as a Bullex Attack System, the approximately $40,000 simulator contains an electronic nozzle, a weighted fire hose that simulates a fire hose full of water, a digital simulation panel that simulate flames and a smoke generator. The panel can be used in wet or dry conditions.

All of these components are linked through a Wi-Fi network to a portable control panel that lets the operator determine the amount of smoke being generated and the intensity of the flames.

“The system lets us train as close to the real thing as possible in a safe environment,” Jones said, noting the smoke generated by the system is non-toxic.

On this training night, firefighters were facing a simulated structure fire that was set up in a garage located at the back of the firehall. Wisps of smoke could be seen leaking out around door and window frames as firefighters approached. Through the windows, you could see a flickering, yellow light.

Working in pairs, firefighters, wearing full protective gear and breathing apparatus, were met with a wall of smoke when they entered the “burning structure” via a “window.”

Like a real fire, visibility was better close to the ground. Through the haze, they could see and hear the flickering flames. Hauling the hose over, under and around obstacles, they approached the flames.

When they got within range, they used the nozzle in the normal manner, but instead of water jetting out, a circular beam of light poured onto the simulated fire. Using the same techniques as they would with a regular hose, they extinguished the blaze.

On some occasions, Chris Clark, the man handling the remote control, would increase the amount of smoke, other times he increased the amount of flames, sometimes he increased both, and other times, he would make it appear the fire was knocked down, only to have it flare up.

“That’s what is great about the system,” Jones said. “We can simulate what happens in a real fire. So just like a real fire, where it could appear to be extinguished, we can make it reignite, and the firefighters have to use their training react to it in the proper way.”

While each pair was going through the drill, they were monitored by another firefighter holding a hand-held thermal imaging camera.

Some of the firefighters were wearing new breathing apparatus recently obtained by the town that contains a major advancement – a thermal-imaging camera built right into the apparatus’s control panel. It enabled them to see through the smoke, without having to use the large hand-held camera.

The fire simulated during the training session was known as a Type A fire, which means basic combustible materials, like wood, were “on fire.”

There are three other classifications of fires. Type B is liquid fire, like gas or oil burning. Type C is an electrical fire, like those found in burning electrical panels and Type D is a combustible metal fire like magnesium.

“What’s great about the simulator is we can simulate all the different types of fires, which means during our training sessions we can have our folks experience what those fires are like and practise the different techniques used to put them out without the danger inherent in a real fire,” the chief said.

Another advantage is the simulator is portable.

“We can set it up almost anywhere. In a classroom, in the firehall, our garage or some other location,” Jones said. “So, if the public sees us training in a location where there is a lot of smoke, they shouldn’t get too worried.”

Special thanks to the Town of Amherst for the story and images.

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Holmatro becomes official supplier to FIA

World-class safety and rescue company to provide equipment to FIA World Championship circuits

Having supplied tools for the IndyCar safety team since 1991, Holmatro has become a leader in manufacturing rescue equipment to assist in the quick and safe extrication of race drivers following incidents on track. Holmatro’s cordless and powerful tools are ideal for the motor sport environment, where drivers need to be extricated from carbon fibre monocoques and high-strength roll-cage structures. Over the years it has been Holmatro’s goal to translate their learnings in racing into innovative rescue tools that raise the level of global post-crash response.

As officially announced at the FIA Conference 2019 in South Africa, Holmatro has become a FIA Official Supplier and will provide its latest hydraulic cutting and spreading equipment to FIA sanctioned circuits worldwide.

As part of the new agreement Holmatro will work with the FIA Safety and Medical departments to provide equipment along with training to support local crews and ensure the highest standards. In addition, FIA National Sporting Authorities will have direct access to FIA approved and standardized Holmatro rescue equipment for its racing series.


Adam Baker, FIA Safety Director, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide Holmatro’s state-of-the-art equipment to our circuits worldwide. It is crucial that rescue teams have access to the latest rescue tools which meet the rigorous standards we set and to training programs that further enhance safety.”

Harm Hermans, Holmatro CEO, said: “Holmatro is proud to be chosen as an official supplier to the FIA and bring our rescue equipment to circuits worldwide. We believe in constant improvement and innovation when it comes to safety, and this is a further demonstration of the quality of our world-class tools and extrication training & consultancy.”

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About FIA

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile is the governing body of world motor sport and the federation of the world’s leading motoring organizations. Founded in 1904, it brings together 240 national motoring and sporting organizations from more than 144 countries, representing millions of motorists worldwide. In motor sport, it administers the rules and regulations for all international four-wheel sport, including the FIA Formula One World Championship and FIA World Rally Championship.

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About Holmatro

Holmatro is a leading rescue equipment manufacturer founded in the Netherlands in 1967. It is the single biggest global supplier of innovative high-pressure hydraulic rescue tools worldwide, with manufacturing facilities in the US and the Netherlands. With over 400 employees, it has three headquarters worldwide to serve authorized business partners in more than 160 countries.