Home Podcasts THMG040 – PPE Selection Secrets, Part II

THMG040 – PPE Selection Secrets, Part II

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In this second episode on PPE selection, we continue to explore why we wear what we do and go through several scenarios.

Complete Show Notes

00:50 SCBA

  • This is hands down your best option for respiratory protection
  • SCBA is 10,000 out of 10,000 on the protection scale
  • We can use SCBA in every type of environment – high IDLH, low or high O2, flammables, etc.
  • It’s the best choice all-around and does the best job of keeping us safe in terms of respiration
  • It does have its downfalls, though – not useful when you’re wearing it for hours, though

3:00 APR

  • For the most part, this is some kind of carbon filter that allows us to breathe atmospheric air that’s been cleaned up
  • For most firefighters, this is adapted to snap right onto a facepiece
  • It’s lightweight and great for long-term operations
  • It also has its downfalls – you can’t put it on unless you know the chemical you’re dealing with
  • You also need full O2 and the chemical concentration must be below IDLH
  • Breathing through an APR can be tiring after a while – you’re using the muscles in your lungs to pull air through your lungs, so it’s hard to do after a while

4:30 PAPR

  • This is an adapted APR that mechanically pushes air through a filter and blows it onto your face
  • This makes PAPR just as easy to breathe in as an SCBA
  • We have the same limitations with PAPR that we do with APR, though – full O2, chemical concentrations below IDLH, etc.
  • It’s also a backpack, so it’s another thing you have to carry and worry about

7:30 Fire Gear vs. Chemical Gear

  • We have this conversation a lot with our operations-level guys because they do a lot in their fire gear
  • We tell them not to use bunker gear, but when they see us using bunker gear they’re confused
  • We have different goals than operations-level guys because they’re doing defensive operations – this includes things like life safety
  • They can wear fire gear to retrieve people because they’re not exposed to the chemicals for as long as hazmat guys are
  • We’ve been extensively trained on how to wear bunker gear and need it because we’re more exposed to the product for longer periods of time
  • Scenario 1: Acid spill outside
    • Ask if there’s any chance of flammability
    • Determine what level of protection you need
    • Consider doing a recon to gather information and do a scene size-up
    • Have your pH paper with you to figure out what’s going on
    • Work with the wind and elements to make sure you stay safe
  • Scenario 2: Acid spill inside
    • Ask which floor it’s on
    • In your mind, you should double all of the hazards you’re exposed to because it’s inside
    • Use SCBA and bunker gear and always keep an eye on your pH paper
    • Determine whether the substance is flammable
    • Mark the point or line where your pH paper changed so you can reference it later
    • Determine whether you need to break windows or open doors
    • Figure out how to handle HVAC, too
    • If the atmosphere is corrosive, put on your Level A to avoid exposure to any vapors
  • Scenario 3: Ethylene oxide release
    • Gas that’s often used in a hospital setting to sterilize kits, tools, etc.
    • Flammable from 0-100% and unbelievably toxic – measured in ppb
    • Can be a gas or a liquid depending on the temperature
    • Figure out if there’s any way to reduce the flammability without spreading it – if there isn’t, try to minimize the area that’s flammable
    • Consider wearing bunker gear during recon and then multiple bunker gear entries to limit exposure (similar to time, distance, and shielding)
  • Scenario 4: Chlorine leak
    • Figure out whether you’re dealing with a gas or a liquid
    • Determine your ventilation profile
    • Wear your SCBA and bunker gear to protect yourself during recon
    • Bring pH paper, chlorine meter, etc. to give yourself as much information as possible
    • Consult with people who run the building to figure out whether it’s appropriate to use the emergency ventilation system

13:45 Hazmat Drill Nugget from Hazsim Training Systems

  • Improving communication between members of your team
  • Go to Toys “R” Us and pick up any toy that requires assembly and directions – Legos are a great option
  • Split your team up between two rooms – one team gets the pieces, and the other gets the directions
  • The team with the instructions reads them to the team with the Legos over the radio

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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Author: The HazMat Guys


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