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  1. #1
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Extrication Hydraulic Fluid & skin

    Recently I was preforming extrication duties and burst a seal inside the combination tool. We use the Hurst set-up. The fluid in the tool was discharged at a great velocity. I went to the hospital with eye injuries and facial burns from the high pressure release. The fluid saturated my turnout gear (PBI), and helmet (bullard traditional style with eye shield). The fluid wiped off the helmet well, the face shield has been damaged from the fluid eating it. My turnouts have been cleaned twice since then to remove the fluid from the material. Still when I come in contact with my turnouts (numerous times daily) I get reminents of the fluid on my hands. The first layer of skin is being eating away. It is not painful, just that the skin rolls away like when you peel from a sunburn. What I am asking is, has anyone had problems like this, and does anyone know how to solve the problem? Short of replacing the turnouts I can't find a solution. Any help would be great.

    Thanks,

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out


  2. #2
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Unhappy

    If you are using Hurst (or at least Hurst Fluid), you were exposed to Phosphate Ester. You should have an MSDS on the product available to you, or perhaps Hurst can fax it to you. Although some Hurst sales people will tell you otherwise, the material is cautic and even flammible if it is aspitated. Hopefully, Hurst can also provide some advise on how to clean the stuff from your gear. If they cannot, I assume some mild acid may be needed to clean it from your turn-outs since Phosphate Ester is a base. Contact the turn-out manufacturer and see if they will permit you to add some plain vinigar to the wash cycle with it.

    To prevent this from happening again, you might want to consider switching fluids completely to Ethyl Glycol. We also had an exposure to phosphate ester here when a hose came off our old Hurst. This was part of the reason we changed to a different tool when we replaced them, and we switched the old Hurst to be compatible with the new fluid. This involves more than just switching fluids, since there are seals that will have to be replaced. I am not sure if your Hurst dealer will do this since, according to them, there is nothing wrong with their fluid. Our Phoenix service technician did our switch over so you may want to contact them for advise.

    Good luck! Let us know what finally takes the stuff out of your gear.

    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.




    [This message has been edited by MetalMedic (edited 01-14-2001).]

  3. #3
    MPreb362
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    sounds as if you were being as carefull as you could. as we all know, you can't control an accident from happening but can protect yourself from such an occasion. we've had exposures to the fluid and it has caused some irritation and redness. the most important thing to remember is to have a good pair of safety glasses and not just count on the face shield as your only source of protection. I speak from experience, i had a piece of glass pop into my eye while sweeping up after a call. a lot of our guys started wearing the cairns helmet mounted goggles and besides having them melt and warp in a fire, seem to like them for the average day to day operations. remember you can always replace the gear, but keep your eyes and hands protected at all times. especially when just doing your daily checks or routine maintenance. the chances of something like this happening at this time is probably greater due to the fact that your probably going to checking your equipment more than actually using it on a call. stay safe and be carefull.

  4. #4
    tfd603
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    sorry to hear about your accident. I hear alot fo these stories from a tool that will give you a hernia and also eat your skin away. My Departments choice was a Mineral oil based rescue system, and also lite weight.

    Good luck, God Bless.

  5. #5
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by tfd603:
    My Departments choice was a Mineral oil based rescue system, and also lite weight.

    Good luck, God Bless.
    Mineral Oil is not going to burn your skin... but it is still something you don't want to ingest. I don't see it used on low pressure tools for some reason. Stick with glycol... you can drink the stuff if you wanted to (but it tastes AWFUL!).



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  6. #6
    FF McDonald
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    Were your turnouts cleaned using a washer/extractor - or just a normal washer, that you would find at home. You may find that your gear may need to be sent off to be professionally cleaned, by someplace like National Safety Clean.
    http://www.natsafe.com/

    Not sure but aren't there some extrication tools out there that use vegetable oil as their fluid? Yeah it's under high pressure - but I can't think of anything that could be less harmful?

    ------------------
    Marc

    "In Omnia Paratus"

    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

    [This message has been edited by FF McDonald (edited 01-15-2001).]

  7. #7
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by FF McDonald:
    Not sure but aren't there some extrication tools out there that use vegetable oil as their fluid? Yeah it's under high pressure - but I can't think of anything that could be less harmful?


    Vegetable oil??? Never heard of that one before, but anything is possible. I would think that an organic product like that would be prone to literal spoilage over time making it an inadequate choice. Will be interesting to see if someone is using it and how they deal with that problem.



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  8. #8
    Chris309
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Mark,

    I agree with the recommendation to call National Safety Clean. We've been using them for years. If they can't get your gear clean, no one can. Call them and explain the problem. The # is (800) 253-2690. I wouldn't wait too long, that Hurst fluid is some pretty nasty stuff, and it may have already broken down the gear even though it may not be obvious. Safety Clean will test it, also.

    ------------------
    Chris
    Hillcrest FD

    LEGAL INFO: Any and all views I've expressed above and on this site are not representative of my department. They are my personal opinions and views.

  9. #9
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    FFMDonald, I had my trunouts professionally cleaned here locally. With the National Safety Clean, how long does it take and what is the cost? Chances are, I have been cleaning and using them since my incident. This took place back in October.

    Thanks,

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

  10. #10
    tfd603
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I disagree with you Metal Medic. I happen to sell a brand of Rescue tool that uses Mineral base fluid. It is harmless and yes you can brush your teeth with it. I suggest you study your hydraulic fluids better. Not sure about glycol but if it isnt water dont drink it.

  11. #11
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by tfd603:
    I suggest you study your hydraulic fluids better. Not sure about glycol but if it isnt water dont drink it.

    Practice what you preach.... I'll drink some glycol and you drink some mineral oil... and let's see who gets sicker (BTW - you might want to avoid drinking too much fluoride too).



    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

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