Federal agencies Injury prevention Fire/emergency medical services

How to use multi-gas monitors: a safety advisory for firefighters


Photo: SOPHIE-CARON/iStockphoto

Morgantown, WV — A new safety advisory from NIOSH is aimed at helping firefighters understand how to use multi-gas monitors when responding to natural gas or propane incidents.

NIOSH says fire departments should train their firefighters on how to interpret data from their specific multi-gas monitor to determine if a hazardous atmosphere is present. That includes low oxygen levels or dangerous levels of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide or hydrogen sulfide.

The advisory states that training should also cover:

  • How to calibrate and maintain gas detection equipment by performing bump testing at the beginning of each shift.
  • The use of gas detection equipment under a wide variety of conditions, including when at the lower explosive limit and upper explosive limit of a gas or vapor.
  • How to use multi-gas monitor readings to establish isolation zones and ensure a continuous risk assessment is conducted throughout the incident.

The advisory features a short Q&A section and the results of a Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program investigation stemming from a July 2018 incident.

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