Thread: Overhaul Masks?

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    Default Overhaul Masks?

    Does anyone have experience with any sort of mask that you can where during overhaul operations? I found one made by "Whiffs" (does anyone have any experience with this one), I've heard of firefighters using plain old dust masks, and someone told me about a canister that you can use with a Scotts pack.

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    The canister for the Scott Pack, I think, is called the smoke eater? As far as I understood it, it is meant to be a last resort, emergency device, to be used in case you run out of air. Probably too costly to be used on a regular basis (probably can't be reused very often, if at all).
    Also, I thought the reason for wearing a mask/airpack during overhaul was the still high CO levels (and other toxins). A filter mask wouldn't lower these levels, right? So it would probably be wise to monitor air quality and either you need an air pack, or it's OK to breath without mask.
    I have to admit, I don't know that much about masks that are not attached to an air cylinder, so please correct me if I'm wrong. But even if there's a filter that does a good job, wouldn't it still be easier and cheaper to use air pack, refill cylinder, and don't have to buy different masks/filters? Admitted though, it is uncomfortable to wear the Scott pack for a long time during overhaul.

    Hope I'm not too much off track, again, please correct me if I'm wrong. Regards,

    Mike

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    But even if there's a filter that does a good job, wouldn't it still be easier and cheaper to use air pack, refill cylinder, and don't have to buy different masks/filters? Admitted though, it is uncomfortable to wear the Scott pack for a long time during overhaul.
    You hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. If the air is free of combustion products, a dust mask or respirator is alot more comfortable to wear than the SCBA pack.

    I recently picked up a half-face 3M respirator that I will definitely be using during overhaul on our next house fire if the house has cellulous insulation. Learned the lesson the hard way with that stuff!
    (cough, cough)
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    The canister for the air pack - the Smokeater, I believe if for Survivair.

    As far as overhaul masks are concerned - you need to be looking for something that filters alot...

    Here's just a few of the chemicals you might find in a fire...
    • acetic acid
    • ammonia
    • hydrogen chloride
    • carbon monoxide
    • hydrogen bromide
    • nitric oxide
    • carbonyl sulfide
    • hydrogen sulfide
    • hydrogen fluoride
    • acrylonitrile
    • acrolein
    • formaldehyde
    • hydrogen cyanide
    • toluene disocyanate
    • phosgene
    etc....

    And if you thought that was bad -- it's only a partial listing of what one might encounter in a fire - the worst phase of a fire is during overhaul - when the fire is smoldering.

    The City of Phoenix conducted a study that was published in the September/October 2000 issue of the American Industial Hygiene Association Journal - in it they monitored Phoenix firefighters for chemical exposures at 25 fires, and during those 25 fires - they tested for the following chemicals:
    • aldehydes
    • benzene
    • toluene
    • ethyl benzene
    • xylene
    • hydrochloric acid
    • polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons
    • respirable dust
    • hydrogen cyanide
    Gas monitors were used to detect the following -
    • hydrogen cyanide
    • nitrogen dioxide
    • Carbon monoxide
    • sulfur dioxide
    Area samples were collected for asbestos, and metals (Cadmium, Chromium, and Lead)

    During overhaul, at 25 fires - the following chemicals exceeded ceiling level values - values that are not to be exceeded during a 8-hr work day; or a 40 hour work week.
    • acreolin 0.1 ppm at 1 fire
    • Carbon monoxide 200 ppm 5 fires
    • formaldehyde 0.1ppm at 22 fires
    • glutaraldehyde 0.05ppm at 5 fires
    In addition, the following chemicals exceeded Short Term Exposure Limits-- values not to be exceeded for more than 15 minutes, 4 times during an 8 hour day:
    • nitrogen dioxide 1ppm at 2 fires
    • sulfur dioxide 5ppm at 5 fires

    I know we have a dangerous job guys -- but c'mon -- don't let machismo make you pull that mask off -- it's not worth your life...

    The fires of yesterday - are not the fires of today.
    Last edited by FFMcDonald; 02-28-2002 at 04:48 AM.
    Marc

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    Member - IACOJ
    "Got Crust?"

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

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    Anyone considering using an air-purifying respirator (APR) for fire scene work needsd to realize that there are federal standards for working in a potentital IDLH atmosphere that need to be adhered to. This addition must also be added to your department's respiratory protection plan. ALL departments are required to have a respiratory protection plan.

    First and foremost, you must conduct air monitoring and determine that the atmosphere is free of any dangerous comtaminants and is not oxygen deficient. Remember, the air purifying mask is useless in an oxygen deficient atmosphere.

    I think when you look at the regulations regarding this type of operation, it is far safer and far simpler to use SCBA.

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    also with the smoke eater, i think you must have a regulator that attaches to the mask, rather than the regulator on the belt. the ad states that it is for use when you are out of air, but does not say anything about overhaul.

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    I have heard alot about whiffs, the owner is a very good person at sales and marketing. He is a older guy who says he is a firefighter but he is a guy that is just out to make a $$$ on a product and its not ment to help anyone.
    In fact if you look at what the Whiffs product has in it, Aloe gel in the mask and it also has pollyester and styrofoam in it. We all know how fast pollyester will burn.
    With the filter they use it makes the mask get wet from your breathing in it gets wet, so if you have this mask on when things get hot your lungs will get a nice steam burn.

    And if your wearing the mask on a wildland fire and things get hot the steam will for sure steam burn your lungs.

    I have heard the forest service and the fed government is not going to allow there firefighters to wear them.

    Stay safe,

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    For those of you considering the use of an APR at fire scenes...

    How many of your departments have a Respiratory Protection Plan? How many follow it? How many of them would allow an APR?

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