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News Highlights (General)

Posted on: December 13, 2021

Haz-Mat Team Purchases New Equipment with Homeland Security Grant

AccuRad - Radiation Monitor

Recently Kalispell Fire was able to purchase new sophisticated monitoring equipment for its Haz-Mat Team.  The monies for this came from a ‘Haz-Mat Team Sustainment Fund’ from the State of Montana through a Homeland Security Grant.  These funds are important in order to maintain and replace aging equipment with modern technology.  Below is an example of some of our new equipment recently purchased with these grant funds.

AccuRad – Radiation Meter

These help us to locate elevated radiation sources.  In the event of an alarm, these monitors can help identify the precise location of the source of any elevated radiation levels noted during surveys. If the elevated reading is from a vehicle, for example, the AccuRad search mode can help determine if the radiation originates from the passenger compartment or from cargo space.  Some sources of radiation can come from hospital equipment, construction equipment (nuclear density gauges), or sadly from those with ill intent.

RKI 6 gas meter

This is a powerful hand-held instrument capable of simultaneously monitoring up to 6 gases. It monitors the standard 4 confined space gases which include combustibles (LEL’s), Oxygen, Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Sulfide, it also monitors Hydrogen Cyanide (typically found in structure fires) and Methane.  This is typically used for Confined Space Entry, Haz-Mat scenes, Arson investigations, perimeter monitoring and leak detection.  It is also a PID which uses ‘Photoionization’ to identify from a library of up to 600 different Volatile Organic compounds, ‘VOCs’.

Many VOCs are human-made chemicals that are used and produced in the manufacture of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. VOCs typically are industrial solvents, such as trichloroethylene; fuel oxygenates, such as methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE); or by-products produced by chlorination in water treatment, such as chloroform. VOCs are also components of petroleum fuels, hydraulic fluids, paint thinners, and dry-cleaning agents.

Kestrel Weather Station

This instrument is a must for Haz-Mat responses.  It is important to know current weather, i.e., Barometric pressure, dew points, wind direction and speeds, relative humidity, temperatures, etc.  This unit can be a stand-alone unit on its tripod or in combination with other remote meters.  It can send all this information remotely to a smart phone for remote monitoring and out of any danger.  It can also keep a log of data and monitor all conditions as frequently as every 2 seconds.   Haz-Mat planning of an incident often relies on the weather conditions as substances react differently to heat/cold, plumes and direction of travel, etc.

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