“That’s all about reducing smoke inhalation deaths by helping people understand and accept that hydrogen cyanide is the culprit in smoke that will kill a civilian before the flames ever get started,” she said. “Proper treatment with antidotal therapy (is possible). If you know cyanide is present you use an antidote … it has been life-saving for many people throughout the United States.”
Longerich said, firefighters from 32 departments across the state took part in the training on Saturday, which was divided into classroom work and practical sessions outside at the Wayne Township Fire Department’s training facility.
At the training facility, she said firefighters simulated burns in a Flashover Chamber to get readings on the toxin levels.
“They were burning small amounts of household products,” she said. “They had some foam, some carpet, and carpet padding … everyday household items.”
Firefighters also got rehab training.
In many cases, firefighters, they should have rehab after every big fire that they’ve gone through two tanks,” Longerich said. “They have to get out of their gear and they have to be rehabbed. That’s really a place where we can identify if a firefighter has been exposed. They went through a practical session in the Flashover Chamber and then we had a rehab practical session where they actually were observed in a rehab area and were given instructions on how to set one up and how to set it up outside of a dangerous smoky environment.”
Longerich said Wayne Township offers a perfect facility for this type of training.
“We use this because they have a wonderful training facility,” she said. “What we do is we find a regional location and then we promote it regionally. It’s free training, so fire departments that are struggling with training budgets, it doesn’t cost them a thing to come here.”
For more information, visit the Coalition’s website at www.firesmoke.org.