A Guide To Accelerant Detection Tools

A Guide To Accelerant Detection Tools

Fire investigation can be referred to as the origin and cause of fire-related incidents. After a fire has been extinguished by firefighters, an investigation is commonly launched to determine the origin and cause of the fire or explosion. It’s the job of investigators to figure out how and where the fire started and whether foul play was involved.

A common resource in the detection of accelerants is the use of trained arson detection dogs. These dogs have smell sensitivity that is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than humans. This ultimately means that dogs can identify accelerants even through scatted debris. In terms of detecting the residue of volatile organic compounds (VOC) that may be present at a fire scene from common accelerants such as solvents, gasoline (petrol) or diesel fuel, dogs have a sensitivity of 0.001 part per million (ppm). That’s an incredible 1 part per billion (ppb)!

Despite the incredible sensitivity of dogs, they can have many fallbacks including their inability to access certain areas such as ceilings and small openings, they can tire and become desensitised and environmental conditions may be too dangerous for a dog to work in.

A photoionisation detector (PID) is an ideal solution for the detection of relatively low-level VOCs for health & safety and environmental applications. The advantages of PIDs such as the Tiger Select over traditional resources include:

  • PIDs are quick, simple to use and accurate for the detection of fire accelerants
  • PIDs are very sensitive to commonly found accelerants and will detect hundreds of gasses and vapors in low concentration.
  • PIDs are non-destructive and will not affect the air sample which can be captured at the same time as the measurement for further lab analysis
  • PIDs reduce the quantity and cost of lab samples required to reach a conclusion as to the cause of the fire
  • PIDs are portable and battery powered making them ideal fire and arson investigation instruments

At Air-Met Scientific we can supply your organisation with the Tiger Select, a PID that has the power to detect VOCs. The Tiger Select has a number of benefits including:

  • Immediate results on start-up - no need to wait for readings
  • Fast to detect Total Aromatic Compounds (TACs)
  • Detects benzene in other compounds with selective Draeger Benzene pre-filter tube
  • Also detects benzene without the need for a specific tube in areas of benzene gas only
  • Detects down to ppb levels
  • Continuous readings shown on display until max level is reached
  • Independently verified as best performing PID technology
  • lightweight design enabling easy one-handed operation

When investigating fires it’s important that the fire investigator can maximise their ‘productivity’ and minimize the number of lab samples that need to be taken. That’s why the Tiger Select provides a number of optional accessories through the Fire Investigator’s Kit:

  • Long, flexible probe, to enable access to awkward spaces and gaps between floorboards and ceilings
  • Vehicle adapter to keep the rechargeable battery topped up plus AA battery pack for ‘emergency use’
  • Exhaust barb to allow air samples to be captured whilst measuring for subsequent lab analysis if required
  • Bump test pen & calibration gas to check functionality and accuracy
  • Spare PTFE filters
  • Rugged carrying case

Modern PID sensors are reliable devices that have many advantages when compared to sniffer dogs. Detectors including the Tiger Select could make a great return on investment (ROI) as they provide for productive work and reduce the number of samples that need to be sent to the lab for analysis.

For more information, please download the full guide below:

Download Full Guide

For more information about VOC Solutions, please contact your local Air-Met Scientific office.

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Date and Time

Mon. 16 Apr 2018

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A Guide To Accelerant Detection Tools