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Blog posts

Thermal Mask Allows Firefighters to See Through Smoke

According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke causes more deaths than flames do. The fumes from the smoke quickly overcome people and unable to breathe. As the smoke sucks the concentration of oxygen from the room, they begin losing their coordination and judgment abilities and quickly fall into unconsciousness.

The smoke also blinds firefighters, severely hampering rescue efforts. And although firefighters use thermal imaging cameras which allow them to see through that smoke, even that process can be dangerous, leaving the firefighter only one hand to use because the other is required to hold the camera. But one piece of equipment could change all that – a thermal mask with a camera.

The camera, developed by Scott Safety, is called Sight. It weighs approximately eight ounces, so it does not interfere with the weight of the mask itself. Using a smartphone app to configure frames per second and other settings, the camera projects a thermal image inside the mask.

The price of the mask is more affordable than traditional thermal cameras used by firefighting teams, which can cost thousands. Sight sells for about $1,500

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New EPA Rules for Chemicals

EPA rules

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed three new rules which would clarify the evaluating and prioritizing of chemicals which may pose health risks for workers and the public. These new rules cover more than 62,000 chemicals. Organizations are required to have final processes in place no later than June 22, 2017.

According to the EPA’s proposal, the three proposed rules are:

Inventory Rule: Currently, there are over 85,000 chemicals which are covered, however, many of those chemicals are no longer being produced. The inventory rule would require organizations to notify the EPA, as well as the public, the number of chemicals they are still manufacturing.

Prioritization Rule: Under this rule, the EPA will establish how chemicals will be prioritized for evaluation. The agency plans on using a risk-based screening process in order to determine whether a chemical should be labeled a high or a low priority. All chemicals determined to be a high priority will be required to undergo evaluation. Evaluation will not be required for those chemicals determined to be low priority.

Risk Evaluation Rule: The EPA will begin evaluating the risks of all existing chemicals. The agency will develop the steps to complete this process, which will include publication of the assessment’s scope. All hazards and exposures will be assessed. Characterizing and risk determination will also be completed.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed new rules. This can be done online by going to www.regulations.gov and entering the following in the search bar:

  • HQ-OPPT-2016-0426 for the inventory rule
  • HQ-OPPT-2016-0636 for the prioritization rule
  • HQ-OPPT-2016-0654 for the risk evaluation rule
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New Terrorist Threats

A study by the FBI confirmed what many already knew – the United States is experiencing more mass shootings than ever. What was once a rare news report has become commonplace on nightly newscasts.

As Run, Hide, Fight continues to become part of the routine training for many organizations, it is also important to not overlook the other threats that terrorists and others whose aim it is to harm and destroy have utilized or attempted to utilize. Awareness of these potential threats by law enforcement, emergency management, emergency responders, and others involved in the aftermath of a terrorist attack is critical.

One of the more frequent methods recently employed by terrorists and assailants is to use a vehicle to attack a crowd of people. This was the method in Wednesday’s tragedy in London when a man drove his vehicle over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then fatally stabbed a police constable before being shot dead by the police. The attack left four people – including the assailant – dead and 40 others injured. In the past year, vehicle attacks in Ohio, France, and Germany have killed and injured dozens of people.

Hazardous materials that are turned into weapons are another real danger. The taking of toxic chemicals or radioactive materials for attacks is a significant threat to the U.S. Chlorine is one example which demonstrates how easily obtainable these hazmat materials are. It is available in vast amounts from rail cars, tanker trucks, ships, and pipelines.

Another method of attack that carries high risks is the use of drones. There have been multiple reports about terrorist groups, like ISIS, having programs which are attempting to develop methods for using drones to deliver chemical weapons or other types of attacks that would result in mass casualties. Experts agree – it is not a matter of if these groups will be able to come up with a system, but when.

Another attack method is cyber-attacks. Terrorists and other individuals can attack an organization’s security system in order to gain access to the facility. Active shooters, terrorist group or individual could literally hold an entire organization hostage using cyber-attacks.

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