Anyone else in the Volunteer side have the problem of members not masking up or atleast have a pack on and a mask close when going into a structure that you were called to for either A. a fire alarm or B. a CO alarm with or with out ill effects? Any fire alarm we get its either only me or me and another person with packs on and a mask with us and has a hand tool. Noone else has anything with them. We might get lucky if they grab the TIC. At CO alarms its the same thing its either only me or me and another person with packs on. Usally when our chief or first engine gets on scene they start checking with for a leak if they find one they exit the building and then tell us to mask up. Anyone else have this problem with noone having packs one with a mask close if not on? What do you do to make them have packs on so when you actually have a fire or CO leak your ready to do work and you dont gotta run for stuff..

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Zach, it all comes down to if your department has a response policy or not?    Here was my response (cut and pasted) to the same question posed in 2008 by a guy named Travis here on FFN:

We have a response policy for CO alarm without ill subject, (flow of traffic) and CO alarm with ill subjects, (engine/ambulance) w/lights/sirens. Dispatchers are trained to tell the person to wait outside but do not open up the windows and vent before FD arrival. We have 3 gas, 4gas, PID's, CO Meters, RAD57's meters and colormetric tubes on our first due apparatus... we also run a Level A Hazmat Team with Smiths ID Machine, etc. We have personnel on each shift that are trained to calibrate all the meters once a week. We have so many different meters, that there are too many differences in calibration and repairs to allow everybody in the cookie jar. Scheduling the calibration will depend on your call volume and the manufactures recommendation.
 
We have a CO SOG, full PPE, SCBA inplace, and we always use (2) air monitors. Usually a 4 gas with CO sensor and a single gas CO unit to make sure you have an accurate reading and it also covers you butt in case your meter is inaccurate. We have operational levels that drive our on scene PPE levels. We arrive and start the meters in fresh air, calibrate them with fresh air (if applicable) the single gas does not have that option.
The OIC has the call to order the crew to don the SCBA facepiece and go on air from the onset of air monitoring. This monitoring starts outside the main door threshold airpack on your back and no facepiece. We usually monitor at the front door threshold, then reach inside to get a reading, if the meter alarms then we are ordered on air.
 
You will get an idea after using this method about looking for a spike in PPM, we use the 35ppm rule for exposure for actually donning the SCBA mask. Greater than 35 ppm would require further investigation of the source on SCBA air. If you hit the UEL or high end alarm, we ventilate the structure before we make entry. Then once you have lower levels we can enter to monitor the structure safely without worrying about the place going Boom! During this time we control the utilities and reduce ignition sources while we are ventilating the building.
 
Now I know 35 ppm is on the low side, yes... but CO exposure is culmulative over repeated exposures too. So your SCBA air is free, why not breath the "known" good stuff. Drives me wild to hear people say it is only a furnace blow back, no masks but what they don't realize that the fire personnel are already beyond the threshold for mandatory medical monitoring at a local hospital. I have seen furnace blow backs with CO readings in the 400-500 ppm range.
We also have a CO exposure form that the IC fills out, lists the meters that were used, lists all the potential sources located in the house that could produce CO and we meter and document at each source. Report the findings and if you find the source, shut down the appliance, secure it and declare that device out of service. Write your readings on the form and have the occupant sign the document. Give him one copy for his personal records and the other copies go to FD Prevention and the OIC.
Here is some other interesting facts about Carbon Monoxide to put it in prespective. The last one usually raises some eyebrows too...
These are Source Concentrations - [DIRECTLY AT THE SOURCE] for reference
0.1 ppm - natural background atmosphere level (MOPITT)
0.5 to 5 ppm - average background level in homes
5 to 15 ppm - levels near properly adjusted gas stoves in homes
100-200 ppm - Mexico City central area from autos etc.
5,000 ppm - inisde a chimney with a home wood stove
7,000 ppm - undiluted warm car exhaust - without catalytic converter
30,000 ppm - undiluted cigarette smoke at the unfiltered end

Very interesting comments. I will once again agree totally with FETC, John and Norm. You guys STILL rock! 

In fact, I love Norm's response

As John mentioned everything begins at the top. Your chief and your training officer are your best authorities in this case. They should be setting the examples.

Another idea: Find a retired firefighter in your area who has or knows of someone who has even the slightest respiratory condition or worse --- is dealing with something like lung cancer. Ask him to come speak to your guys about wearing your SCBA. We can look at powerpoints and videos all day long, but the real deal makes a lasting impression.

As I wait for a double lung transplant, I vowed to bitch and complain ad nauseum to any firefighters about wearing SCBA when in ANY amount of smoke. Pay my expenses and I would gladly stand up and preach about it..(with my oxygen bottle by my side) lol. It is important to remember, that as more and more cancers are identified and put on what is referred to as "presumtive legislation" lists ..simply meaning.. firefighters who get these cancers - it is presumed that it is because of the job they do. Little do they mention however.. there are certain criteria that must be met.. as an example.. non hodgkins lymphoma.. is on the list.. but you need to be 20 years in service.. Keep in mind..that is from Manitoba Canada.. other jurisdictions may vary. Don't be kidding yourself into thinking that just because you are a firefighter.. and get lung cancer.. that they will cover you.. if you are a smoker.. guess what?  Further to this...as insurance companies wise up.. and with the onset of continued use of YOUTUBE videos.. shot from guys with helmet cams. etc.. and think it's the cat's ass to show off to their friends how bad ass a firefighter they are. etc.. How long do you think it will be before the claims are denied because video proof of guys NOT wearing SCBA .?  Forget for a moment that maybe wearing a mask makes you look less macho therefore peer pressure makes you kind of shy away from them... It would seem to me ( but admittingly I am sort of biased here lol) that if wearing a scba was going to help fend off lung cancers etc.. and NOT wearing them would be grounds enough to deny any insurance claims - years into a person's career ( it won't happen over night.. years later you will feel the effects of breathing in carcinogen laden smoke) It would be in a person's best interests to wear the )(@#&(@_!*#& ing pack! Explain it to your grandkids why you didn't wear the damn thing!.  That is - and will continue to be - my rant. CHIEFS.. SAFETY OFFICERS.. do your damn jobs and enforce the policies! simple!   My next comment is for the author.. after looking at your profile.. I see you are a 2 year junior firefighter.. Do juniors get to actively participate in working fires? Better question would be.SHOULD they?  I find it kind of annoying..for lack of a better term.. that a junior comes on and airs the dept.'s dirty laundry.. but in this case.. it makes for a meaningful topic of conversation. If even one firefighter reads these comments, and decides to wear the scba AND GO ON AIR when confronted with any smoke..this was a good thread.  FETC thanks for posting the info on Carbon Monoxide.. most people would be too lazy to investigate it themselves.  Oh one more thing... As a frontline firefigher for 17 years.. I ALWAYS used my SCBA when working in smoke..ok.. MOST of the time!  It might only take once right?

Stay safe everyone.

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