Thread: Respirators

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    Default Respirators

    Our Office is looking into purchasing respirators for all of the investigators. Presently some of the time we use N95 face masks but based on some of our reading feel that will not be enough for what we may encounter.

    Obviously an SCBA is a bit cumbersome for conducting an investigation, however for certain facilities in our area we will be HAZMAT PPE to conduct our investigation.

    I guess what I am looking for is what do you use? What type of cartridges if you do not use SCBA? What polices/protocols do you have in place.

    I have heard ATF CFI's will not go into/on a scene without a respirator.

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    Scott an I am sure other manufacturers, make a cartridge adapter for the SCBA facepiece. You can get P100 cartridges and they also have a WMD cartridge. They use a standard NATO 40mm thread, so pretty much any gas mask cartridge would work. This obviously allows full face protection as well as the respiratory component.
    Jason Brooks
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    Default Scene Safety

    John Hopkins University has an ongoing study that monitors ATF CFI's. They have found that ATF CFI's have a higher rate of bladder cancer than the national average. One major policy change is that no evidence collected can be transported in the passenger compartment of any vehicle. This is why all ATF CFI's now have pick-up trucks with lockable bed covers. Even a sealed evidence can leaks some toxic vapors.
    The safety chapter of NFPA 921 is being re-written for the next addition. I was told the goal is to bring it more in line with OSHA.
    You may see a requirement for atmospheric monitoring prior to entering all scenes. You may see requirements for confine space operations. You may see a multitude of new requirements.
    If I am working a residential fire scene shortly after suppression has been completed. I maintain PPV the whole time we are working the fire scene.
    We wear N95 masks when we digging out any scene. Itís an excellent dust mask. We have full face respirators to use if the scene requires it.
    You are going to have to evaluate each scene and identify the hazards. Reference NFPA chapter 12. Then protect yourself accordingly.
    I have seen some scenes that the investigations have been conducted in level A hazmat suits. It all goes back to correctly completing a scene safety assessment. What are your hazards? What level of protection do you need?

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

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    In order to conform with OSHA (or PEOSHA) standards, your agency MUST have a vaild Respiratory Protection Plan in place before respirators or any other respiratory protection device is used. The major parts of the plan include training, fit testing, medical surveillance and maintenance. There was a sample of an RPP for fire investigation units written by my old partner in a past issue of the Fire and Arson Investigator a few years back.

    You can search the back issues from the Members Only section of the IAAI website.

    P100 cartridge is the way to go. Just remember, basements and the like are considered confined spaces and air monitoring is a must.

    I would throw anything close to a dust mask into the trash and use an APR.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    This issue has come up with a friend of mine who is a Supervising Fire Marshal here in NYC. The guys here are not given anything. Perhaps if they are thinking they will grab some N95's from a CFR Depot but other than that they are all alone. No SCBA's either, basically they are told if it is an IDLH they should not be there. In today's day and age the need for LE to have access to an IDLH due to a VBIED is crucial for evidence preservation. Firemen are not interested in saving evidence when it comes to extinguishing a fire.

    SCBA training and fit testing should be a real consideration. A SCOTT APR goes on a SCOTT facepiece and without proper 'training' and fit testing you run a real liability if you do not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyirons2 View Post
    This issue has come up with a friend of mine who is a Supervising Fire Marshal here in NYC. The guys here are not given anything. Perhaps if they are thinking they will grab some N95's from a CFR Depot but other than that they are all alone. No SCBA's either, basically they are told if it is an IDLH they should not be there. In today's day and age the need for LE to have access to an IDLH due to a VBIED is crucial for evidence preservation. Firemen are not interested in saving evidence when it comes to extinguishing a fire.

    SCBA training and fit testing should be a real consideration. A SCOTT APR goes on a SCOTT facepiece and without proper 'training' and fit testing you run a real liability if you do not.
    Yet every single NYPD has been issued a CBRN APR???????
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    But they get a gas mask, we do not have them, we have SCOTT facepieces. Since you have to be a fireman before you can be a marshal in NYC we all have had the training on SCBA. Working with a full facepiece on is not a pleasant experience for more than about 20 minutes. Rebreather training is not fun when you get to wear a mask for 2 hours!

    A lot of it has to do with who is tougher than the next guy. I love fires, but hate black boogers for days after. Probably the same for guys digging out a scene, no respiratory protection is probably the same as sucking on a diesel pipe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyirons2 View Post
    But they get a gas mask, we do not have them, we have SCOTT facepieces. Since you have to be a fireman before you can be a marshal in NYC we all have had the training on SCBA. Working with a full facepiece on is not a pleasant experience for more than about 20 minutes. Rebreather training is not fun when you get to wear a mask for 2 hours!

    A lot of it has to do with who is tougher than the next guy. I love fires, but hate black boogers for days after. Probably the same for guys digging out a scene, no respiratory protection is probably the same as sucking on a diesel pipe.
    I'm familiar with the NYPD program. I helped write a grant app for funds to purchase APR's for every cop in our county. We modeled after their plan. Not only are they issued the APR, it has to be with them at all times when they are on duty. As far as I know, thse APR's are the good ones, CBRN rated. I do not know the manufacturer.

    I've been digging out fire scenes virtually every day for 25 years. The overwhelming majority of the time w/o a respirator of any type. I have used both APR and SCBA for fire investigations. It ain't fun.

    Fire investigation should never be like "sucking on a diesel pipe". If it is, you are doing something wrong. It's not an emergent duty, so there is time to do it safely. In 99% of the cases, proper workplace controls, ie; ventilation, cures all airborne contaminant issues.

    My point was the irony. Most of the NYPD guys will never put that mask on their face in the line of duty. Yet, those who need them most and would actually use them do not get them. That makes no sense.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I have to agree fire investigation does end up being like sucking on a "diesel pipe", even with proper ventilation.

    Lets think about it for a second. Even after the fire is out we still have all kinds of particulate matter floating around in the air and settled on the fire debris. While proper ventilation may reduce levels of CO, etc. By venting you are now kicking up all of the particulate matter and inhaling it during your investigation (w/o a respirator). This and other exposure reasons may be why some investigators have some of ailments they have to day.

    To be bluntly honest I have thought about respiratory protection but its never been the front of my mind. We do monitor the atmosphere already. What put it front of my mind was about a month ago we had a fire involving a boat and I felt like I smoked a whole pack of menthol cigarettes after the investigation was completed.

    Now I am relatively young by comparison in this field. Id like this to be a long career so this is where my original post came from. Our new guy came back from NFA and had the organic vapors /acid gas canisters recommended for use. We are looking into respiratory protection in 2009 so we are trying to do some research now.

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    Resp. protection along with protective clothing should be paramount for guys in this line of work. Particulate based air pollutants is the one thing that always gets you in trouble. I hope that for those of you involved in this line of work you make it a point to emphasize the importance of protecting yourself. I am having countless friends from work develop 'strange' cancer's.


    Be Safe!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyirons2 View Post
    Resp. protection along with protective clothing should be paramount for guys in this line of work. Particulate based air pollutants is the one thing that always gets you in trouble. I hope that for those of you involved in this line of work you make it a point to emphasize the importance of protecting yourself. I am having countless friends from work develop 'strange' cancer's.


    Be Safe!
    I agree with you, but for one thing.

    Occupational Safety and Halth 101 teaches us that workplace controls are the number one way to minimize exposures. Ventilation is a work place control. Since fire investigation is not an emergent duty, there is time to put workplace controls into use. If the atmosphere is known to be hazardous, we usually have time to wait until we can make it as safe as possible.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LtDanDaFireman View Post
    Our Office is looking into purchasing respirators for all of the investigators. Presently some of the time we use N95 face masks but based on some of our reading feel that will not be enough for what we may encounter.

    Obviously an SCBA is a bit cumbersome for conducting an investigation, however for certain facilities in our area we will be HAZMAT PPE to conduct our investigation.

    I guess what I am looking for is what do you use? What type of cartridges if you do not use SCBA? What polices/protocols do you have in place.

    I have heard ATF CFI's will not go into/on a scene without a respirator.
    All the OSHA requirements aside......

    Personally, I would go with the 3m fullface 6000 series. I would also use the organic vapor/acid cartridges mainly because they protect from chlorine, hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide/flouride. The N95's are good for light dust and the bird flu

    Not too bad in the price arena and really not that uncomfortable compared to some other's I have had on. Mainly personal preference I would think.

    Thing is, you can own and use every cartridge known to man and still not be protected from everything. Even using an SCBA won't guarantee you won't absorb something nasty and doing anything in a Level A just simply sux rox.

    I'm a HAZMAT kinda guy (a Specialist to be specific) but to be honest, I try not to put that much thought into air quality of structure fires after they are out. Our safety hotshots do a o2/co2/h2s gas check and that's about it. Everyone knows the air is full of nasties and it has to be doing something adverse to you but unless you pack out the whole time, your rolling the dice.

    Best advise is to try and determine what burned (normal everyday house fire... meth lab... Exxon Chemical Research Lab...) and try to use a cartridge based on the chemicals that may be involved. The organic cartridges I reccomended since that is what you would usually find in a house fire based on OTC cleaning agents.

    And back to the OSHA stuff, just buying them and handing them out (as stated) isn't enough.

    Be safe and good luck!
    R2

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