IAFC Hazmat Conference

Baltimore, MD

Real-Time FTIR Gas Identification: A Capability Every Response Team Should Possess

Thursday, June 8, 2023, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Presented by Brandon Gayle, Trainer for RedWave Technology


Is your recon team fully equipped to assess all hazards? According to best practices and NFPA Standards, the initial entry into potential hazardous materials, illicit drugs, or terrorism events requires the use of air monitoring instrumentation to protect those entering the hot zone and to gather vital information about the contaminates present to begin the risk assessment process and determine if the correct PPE has been selected. The problem is the traditional instrumentation that we send our responders down range with only indicates when there is “something” present other than normal air. While that may indicate a possible hazard is present, there is no way to know for sure until a positive identification is made by locating a source or collecting a sample for later analysis.

All chemicals pose a hazard at different concentrations, some at lower concentrations than others, and just because a sensor is indicating the presence of a gas or vapor, there is no way for the responder to know what the actual concentration of that gas or vapor is until it is identified, and the proper correlation factor is calculated. This reveals a known gap in our technology that has gone largely unfilled until this past year. Realtime gas/vapor identification has never been available before, and until now, we have adapted our response to these “unknown readings” based on working around the lack of technology by using AHJ-determined action levels for each sensor deployed. This session will address the current gap in our technology, the safety issues that can arise due to this gap, and introduce a gap-stop technology that was brought to our market this past year. FTIR gas identification is going to revolutionize the way we approach incidents and provide a more rapid risk assessment for incident commanders, therefore increasing responder safety, especially during initial entry into an unknown environment.


Learning Objectives:

  • The participant will identify the weaknesses of current air monitoring technologies including sensor cross-sensitivities, T90 response times, relative response factors, corrosive vapors, and undetectable gases.
  • The participant will identify situations when action levels for each sensor may be insufficient to protect a responder based on technologies currently used for initial entry into a hot zone.
  • The participant will demonstrate how to use an FTIR Gas/Vapor instrument to identify an unknown atmosphere and make risk assessment decisions based on quantitative calculations with provided relative response factors.