Home Ask The Haz Mat Guys ATHMG001 – Ask the Haz Mat Guys, Episode I

ATHMG001 – Ask the Haz Mat Guys, Episode I


In this episode, we answer the following questions:

  • How do I read a multi-gas monitor and account for correction factors?
  • What’s the difference between CPM and REM?
  • Can we use bunker gear for all hazmat responses?
  • What is a mole and how does it affect our response?

Complete Show Notes

00:45 Question #1 – How Do I Read a Multi-Gas Monitor and Account for Correction Factors?

  • Each meter is accompanied by a specific chart that lays out the different correction factors
  • Action levels (indicated by beeping) are typically correlated with worst case scenarios
  • This means it will beep in time even when the correction is the highest
  • LEL meters don’t recognize specific gasses, but they do let us know when one or more combustible gasses are in the atmosphere
  • These are calibrated to recognize specific gasses, rather than a wide range of substances like some other meters

3:00 Question #2 – What’s the Difference Between CPM and REM?

  • Counts per minute CPM
    • Equivalent to being at the shooting range and hearing a gun go off
    • When you hear the gun go off, you know a bullet was fired – just like radioactive isotopes release energy
    • If you hear a gun go off every 60 seconds, you’re experiencing 1 count per minute
    • Same thing goes for the isotope world, but the meter is picking up the “shot,” rather than our ears
  • Roentgen equivalent man (REM)
    • Equivalent to the caliber of the gun/size of the bullet and how much damage one of its shots can do to us

5:00 Question #3 – Can We Use Bunker Gear for All Hazmat Responses?

  • Bunker gear isn’t chemical protective clothing – it’s a Class D chemical protective ensemble
  • It does give us a delayed response to the chemicals we’re encountering, though
  • If bunker gear isn’t adequate, fall back, reevaluate your PPE selection, and continue the operation
  • Bunker gear is particularly useful with radiation since it’s thicker and has denser fibers

7:10 Question #4 – What is a Mole and How Does It Affect Our Response?

  • Put simply, a mole is a system of proportional measurements
  • Example:
    • Water contains 3 molecules – 2 hydrogens and 1 oxygen
    • We can’t just grab these molecules off the shelf to “build” water, so we have to weigh them out proportionally
    • In this case, a 2:1 ratio doesn’t work due to the different molecular weights between hydrogen and oxygen
    • Turning the molecular weight of a molecule into grams gives you its mole measurement – weights and sizes don’t matter
  • Acids and bases are used extensively to create chemical reactions – for every reaction, we need an acid and a base molecule
  • Concentrations of acids and bases are listed in 2 different ways:
    • Molality
      • The number of moles of solute per kilogram of solvent
    • Molarity
      • The number of moles of solvent per liter of molecule
  • The higher the molarity, the stronger the solution, and stronger solutions require more of the acid or base to titrate down
  • We don’t know the actual numbers, though, so we’re focused on our pH paper
  • Higher and lower concentrations only change how much we need to titrate

Have a question? Send an email to feedback@thehazmatguys.com or leave a message on our Haz Mat Guys comment hotline: 843-628-1484

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