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10 Jun 2024

Dräger Wins Tender to Improve Detection of Hydrogen Cyanide for Five Fire and Rescue Services

Draeger Safety UK Stand: 5/B190
Dräger Wins Tender to Improve Detection of Hydrogen Cyanide  for Five Fire and Rescue Services
Dräger, an international leader in the fields of medical and safety technology, has won a tender to upgrade mobile gas monitoring equipment to detect potentially lethal hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and further improve the safety and protection of firefighters for five Fire and Rescue Services in the north west of England and Northern Ireland.

The framework agreement, led by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services (LFRS) and covering Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Cumbria, and Northern Ireland, was created to assess and procure Multi-Gas Detectors (MGDs) specifically designed for use in firefighting, where hazardous materials are present.

The existing gas monitors were eight years old and nearing end of life. Maintenance costs were rising, and LFRS needed a more modern mobile monitoring solution to detect HCN, which along with its ‘toxic twin’, carbon monoxide (CO), are the two most deadly gases present in fires and post fire scenes. When combined, they form a powerful chemical asphyxiant which stops people breathing and can cause heart attacks.

After selecting the best-written applications from numerous suppliers, a physical assessment of the equipment was carried out, comparing like for like. Rodney Steele, Station Manager Operational Equipment & Breathing Apparatus, LFRS, says they selected Dräger’s X-am® 5800 multi-gas detector because it had one property no other gas monitor submitted had: “This monitor emits an earlier alarm at lower concentrations when both gases are detected simultaneously – providing a crucial early warning.”

The physical assessment was not just about how the equipment performs mechanically but also about how easy it is to use, including its weight: “This was a big part of the decision,” Rodney adds. “Today, firefighters’ medical and safety equipment typically weighs 16 to 18 kilograms, including four layers of clothing, SCBA equipment, hoses, helmets, and a torch. More weight uses more oxygen and shortens the time responders can spend on search and rescue. The X-am® 5800 multi-gas detector is small and lightweight and can be clipped onto clothing, making it comfortable to wear.”

The monitor is also easy for the heavily suited firefighter to use, with large buttons for thickly gloved hands, and a clear display. Its language-free, icon-based user interface makes it simple to use. A green D-light status indicator tells firecrews when the gas monitor is ready for use.

As well as being able to detect the ‘toxic twins’ simultaneously, the X-am® 5800 multi-gas detector will be used by LFRS and the other regional fire services to monitor a total of five gases. For added safety, its oxygen channel has four alarm thresholds: pre and main alarms for rising and falling oxygen concentrations. To help protect damage of the monitor during an incident, it has a particularly shock-resistant CatEx sensor that is used to detect the Lower Explosion Limit.

Use of the X-am® 5800 monitors have been extended to the Hazardous Material Environmental Protection Officers (‘Hazmat Officers’). Hazmat Officers are specially trained fire officers who will be the initial point of information. They perform a vital role when a crew first arrives at an incident, identifying which gases are present and then providing specialist advice to the operational crews on how to manage the risks.

“Dräger’s monitors come with a pump and an extension, like a metal fishing rod, that is up to a meter and a half long,” Rod explains. The metal rod makes an initial sweep of a room for gas easier and quicker: “You don’t have to climb ladders or onto chairs to check the tops of high cupboards or bend down to check closer to ground level. This makes Hazmat Officers’ roles easier and safer,”  he adds.

The data collected at the initial gas assessment also feeds into regional and national support, as well as other agencies. The X-am® 5800, using Dräger’s Gas Detection Connect software, can record and transmit live data via Bluetooth to a smartphone or the Dräger ConHub Gateway, and onto the backend of the Gas Detection Connect software, helping firefighters to share information and manage the crew’s equipment. Data can also be transferred directly to the cloud with the X-dock 6300 test station, so the data and its analysis are secure and available at any time, from anywhere.  

As well as the equipment, Rodney has been impressed with the people:  “They are very customer focused,” he says. “I'm dealing with a single point of contact for the gas monitors or whatever equipment, training or servicing we need. It is really important for me that I can phone one person for many things rather than phoning multiple people. Dräger makes me feel that I'm the most important customer in the world.”

Liz Millward, Marketing Manager Emergency and Rescue Services, says the tender win is a reflection of Dräger’s commitment to driving innovation: “We work closely with our customers to ensure that equipment is designed to protect firefighters in the most hazardous environments. We’re thrilled to have won this tender and look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with LFRS.” 

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