In order to adequately face the challenges that a firefighter faces on a daily basis one should understand the importance of detecting the harmful gases present, in order to be alerted to danger and to ensure the correct precautions are taken to prevent exposure.

Understanding the different types of gases and the dangers that they can pose to people is the first step in choosing the correct form of gas detection.

Even the most common gases, such as oxygen and nitrogen, can have devastating effects if present at certain levels.

Each gas has exposure limits (the concentration to which workers can be exposed continuously for a short period of time), which are broken down into permissible exposure limit, short-term exposure limit and threshold limit value.

As with all safety equipment, unless you know how to use it properly then you may not be benefitting from the protection that the equipment can provide.

It is important that all personnel that come into contact with gas detection equipment are properly trained.

Training could cover general information about the devices, how to handle them, the care, maintenance and calibration, as well as practical training. The important thing is that the user understands how to use the equipment, and how to react if it alerts them to the presence of gas.

Of course, turning on the gas detector is not the end of the story; if the user is working in a confined space then confined space training should also be undertaken.

The importance of understanding the risks, putting gas monitoring procedures in place and adequately protecting against residual risks cannot be underestimated when it comes to protecting workers.

With training and proper maintenance your business will be much better equipped to handle the risks of dangerous gases.

In order to keep safe where there is the potential for a hazardous atmosphere it is important be knowledgeable on the following:

• Fire tetrahedron and how heat, oxygen, fuel and a chemical reaction can create a dangerous environment

• Differences between the different sensor technologies and which technology is optimal for the different hazards you may encounter daily.

• How to properly service and maintaining the equipment for optimal use and longevity.

• Bumping and calibrating the equipment in order to accurately assess the correct hazard