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#135784 - 06/12/08 09:39 PM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: Arney]
Burncycle Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 515
Firefighters use SCBA right?

Would a spare air (http://www.spareair.com/) or small pony bottle and some swim goggles work for smoke? It'd fit in a briefcase or small bag you can keep at the office, and might give you some time in case of an office/subway fire, if that's a threat you may face. Nil heat protection though...

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#135788 - 06/12/08 10:18 PM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: Burncycle]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Yes, FF's use SCBA, which is a positive pressure system. I assume that spare air would work, IF you had a good seal, and it was a positive pressure flow device. I would assume though that the swim goggles wouldn't work, since you'd have no way to flush the smoke out that would accumulate as you put them on.

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#135797 - 06/12/08 11:30 PM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: Burncycle]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Burncycle
Would a spare air (http://www.spareair.com/) or small pony bottle and some swim goggles work for smoke?

Interesting idea but I don't think that would be helpful for long. Anyone who understands pressurized air like a fire fighter, physican, or scuba diver please correct my very basic reasoning here, but I was looking at the Spare Air specs for their basic (yikes, $299!) model and it says it provides 57 "surface breaths" at 1.6L/breath, so that's about 90L of stored 02. If you're really huffing due to exertion or hyperventilating due to extreme stress, you could go through 90L of air in just 2-3 minutes by my reckoning and since there's no re-breathing mechanism, it's all gone at that point.

A few minutes doesn't seem worth it to pay $300 to escape a fire, even if you could make the assumption that you could reach safety in a few minutes from whatever situation you're typically in. A smoke hood that filters CO would provide protection against smoke for a lot longer, for much less money it seems.

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#135814 - 06/13/08 01:54 AM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: Arney]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Sounds like an emergency rapell system might be money better spent (depending of course on the height of your building. Usless in a subway)...
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OBG

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#135838 - 06/13/08 03:00 AM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: Arney]
beadles Offline
Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 105
Loc: Richardson, TX
In the past few months, I've had the opportunity to take the AMA's Basic and Advanced Disaster Life Support classes. This is pretty eye opening stuff. Got to learn how to give smallpox immunizations! But I digress... Summarizing:

Nuclear contamination - This section was delivered by the department head of nuclear medicine. He also gets called out when there is an accident involving nuclear materials in the county. This apparently happens quite often, with traffic accidents being the main cause.

Since the course was mostly for medical personnel, it was stressed that there is no justification for refusing to treat a person contaminated with nuclear material. There is no contamination you can get on you that can injure you in that short a period of time. The trick is to keep it out of you - keep your N95 mask handy. The instructor also carries around a personal set of blockers - Kelp tablets for Iodine, Prussian Blue for Cesium, etc. Be prepared to decontaminate - If hazmat does it for you, you'll wind up naked, hopefully wrapped in a blanket.

Problem with chemical contamination is recognizing the symptoms and having something to counteract it. We learned how to give atropine autoinjectors for nerve agents, but if you don't have any, you may be out of luck. Some of the chems do unrepairable enzyme damage in minutes, so you have that long to treat. Blister agents require decontamination in minutes because the agents fix to tissues rapidly. No antidotes are available, though some things are under investigation, according to the book. No specific antidotes to irritant gasses

One issue we discussed was that hospitals expect hazmat teams to decontaminate chemical victims. However, in Tokyo, most victims of that attack were not totally incapacitated, and transported themselves to the local hospital a few blocks away. The hospital did not identify the agent and did not do any decontamination. Fumes offgassing from the victim's clothing took out a substantial number of the ER staff.

Bare minimum, if you think you've been anywhere near exposure, be prepared to throw your clothing in a sealed plastic bag, and wash down thoroughly with warm (not hot) soap and water. Also, be aware that contact lenses can absorb chemicals, so be prepared to get them out ASAP. I found this out the hard way, while finishing some home built furniture with spray polyurathane.

Our chemicals instructor, who was from a local Hazmat department, said that nerve agent poisoning happens all the time. Farmers work with large quantities of insecticide, which is basically the same thing. He said that post 9-11, many fire depts are carrying atropine autoinjectors.


Edited by beadles (06/13/08 03:01 AM)
_________________________
John Beadles, N5OOM
Richardson, TX

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#135842 - 06/13/08 03:28 AM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: beadles]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...atropine autoinjectors for nerve agents..."

My thigh hurts just thinking of that...
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OBG

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#135849 - 06/13/08 05:10 AM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: beadles]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1749
Originally Posted By: beadles

The trick is to keep it out of you - keep your N95 mask handy.

Well there is a hazard of radiation particles builing up in the mask itself, which will become a source of radiation. So don't forget to replace the mask after awhile. it will safe you from a unhealthy dose of radiation near your face.

Originally Posted By: beadles

If hazmat does it for you, you'll wind up naked, hopefully wrapped in a blanket.


They don't carry spare clothing for victims? I have been decontaminated three times as a civilian and we always get a pack of replacement clothing.

Originally Posted By: beadles

Bare minimum, if you think you've been anywhere near exposure, be prepared to throw your clothing in a sealed plastic bag, and wash down thoroughly with warm (not hot) soap and water. Also, be aware that contact lenses can absorb chemicals, so be prepared to get them out ASAP. I found this out the hard way, while finishing some home built furniture with spray polyurathane.


Well not always with water, some chemicals contamination can be worsed by washing with water. But in generall MOST (not all) decontamination van be done with soapy water. Although you should keep the water temperature in the 25- 35 Celcius zone (depending on the weather conditions). To hot and your pores open allowing chemicals to enter, to cold is bad too...
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#135865 - 06/13/08 12:57 PM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: Dan_McI]
DesertFox Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 339
Loc: New York, NY
I'm pretty much in your position. Work a stone's throw from Ground Zero and commute by subway to Brooklyn. Right now all I carry is a couple of N95 masks.Remember the footage of the rolling waves of gray dust as the Towers fell? That's the scenario I envision.

I figure another likely scenarion is a bombing or fire on the subway or some disaster requiring me to exit a building in smoky conditions.I have been toying with the idea of buying one of the smoke hoods mentioned earlier. The one you identify looks pretty good, as well as the one from Aeromedics. The key is that it be light and portable enough that you actually have it on you when you need it.

As far as a suit or gas mask, I've pretty much discarded that idea for two reasons. For one, it is just too bulky to carry around. I carry various files and work related items as well as a small EDC. Much more and I am going to need to steal one of the homeless guy's shopping carts. (Though stashing a suit and gas mask at the office is a possibility.)Secondly, by the time you realize you are under attack and don the suit it may be too late, especially in the case of a gas attack. I think my time would be better spent identifying the source of the threat and heading away from it (preferably upwind).

I would think, looking at it from a terrorist's point of view, the easiest operation to plan and carry out would be a dirty bomb or a conventional (suicide?) bomb. Biological and chemical attack will probably be pretty far down the list because to do it well would be very complicated. It's not easy even for well funded and trained military units. Look at the sarin gas attack in Tokyo. All things considered, the casualty count was pretty low.

Above all, I try to practice what they call around here "situational awareness". Keeping my eyes open to the people around me, danger zones and possible escape routes.

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#135883 - 06/13/08 01:59 PM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: DesertFox]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
We probably have passed each other on the street.

I remember the clouds on 9-11 well. I was on the phone at the time with my them girlfriend, and she was urging me to leave my office. I am very glad I did not. Many that I know did ended up covered by and enclosed within the cloud. My building was in the cloud, but not much came into our office. Didn't have a mask, but I walked out about 4:30 with a wet t-shirt over my face. That was an unforgettable walk.

I tend to think that potential chemical and biological attacks would be of such a nature that the agents could not travel very far. So long as you were not very close, staying put as I did on 9-11 would probably be a good move. Still, I feel better knowing my wife has a hood. I cannot count on her thinking calmly and makign the right decision, especially if there is a crowd making a wrong decision.

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#135915 - 06/13/08 04:36 PM Re: Breath of Life vs. Gas Mask vs. Nothing [Re: Dan_McI]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Dan_McI
...staying put as I did on 9-11 would probably be a good move...

Same thing goes for a dirty bomb detonated in the financial district or next to the Naked Cowboy in Times Square. Actually, even if you or your wife decided to walk around right after the detonation, the realistic danger to you is very low, all things considered. But people will be absolutely freaked out and not walking, but running over the bridges to get out of Manhattan. Like they say, a dirty bomb is primarily a psychological weapon, not a physical one, unless you happen to be physically blown up by the actual detonation (bye, bye, Naked Cowboy...). If you decide to wait it out inside for hours or a day, the air concentrations will diminish significantly and further lessen the already low risk when you finally venture out.

I commented on this particular topic in more depth in the past so I'll just link to that old post . Actually, that was an interesting thread in general so read through the whole thing.

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