Next week, the Sterling Heights Fire Department will become the first fire department in the state of Michigan to have available a Remote Methane Leak Detector -
First Responder, a device that allows first responders to quickly scan common venting points within a structure from a safe distance to determine if methane gas is present. The $15,000 unit was donated to the department by the detector’s manufacturer, Heath Consultants, of Houston, Texas. The generous donation was accepted by Sterling Heights City Council at their May 17 meeting. In late May/early June, training on how to use the new detector will be provided to all firefighters, and the device will be put into service once training is completed.
“Many times, first responders are called to natural gas emergencies, and up until now, we’ve only had a way to detect for gases while inside what could be a potentially hazardous environment or in the correct flammable range to set off an explosion with just a spark,” said Fire Chief Kevin Edmond. “This new device can be used to detect gases remotely, keeping our team safely away from potentially dangerous structures and situations.”
The Remote Methane Leak Detector works by using Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS), allowing the operator to shine a beam through most windows, giving them an audible and visual signal as to the presence of methane. This quick scan permits first responders to make rapid decisions that are critical to establish the appropriate control of the gas and ignition sources if a detection is present. The instrument features include WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS capability and more.
“Safety is so important to building our exceptional quality of life here in Sterling Heights,” said Mayor Michael Taylor. “We must first keep our firefighters safe so they can keep our community safe in turn, and this new equipment is just one more tool in the toolbox that can help us do that.”