After fighting a structural fire, fire fighters must perform strenuous operations to check for and extinguish any smoldering hot spots behind the walls, and in the ceilings to prevent anything combustible that may cause a fire to reignite. This process is called overhaul.
Until the carbon monoxide drops to safe levels, firefighters will continue to wear their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), weighing up to 25.5 pounds when the air tank is at full capacity, during overhaul operations. Firefighters then take their SCBAs off to continue operations; potentially exposing themselves to other harmful chemicals in the overhaul environment.
To help give responders more room to breathe, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) collaborated with TDA Research Inc. and Avon Protection Systems on a low-maintenance filtration system that drastically improves responders’ ability to get the job done without placing themselves in harm’s way.