Fire departments train almost every day.
“We want the visibility to be what we think we’re going to go into when we go into an actual fire,” said Janesville Deputy Fire Chief James Ponkauskas. “That’s what we’re looking for when we’re training.”
While cancer prevention has come to the forefront for many departments battling real fires, Ponkauskas says only recently has the Janesville Fire Department looked at the dangers they face while training.
“We weren’t really thinking about our health and the health of everyone else that was there,” he said.
Part of the concern is the cancer-causing chemicals in many kinds of training smoke.
“It’s something everybody is thinking about,” said Ponkauskas. “We’ve had a few individuals in our department that have went through cancer and that’s one of the big things for the fire service.”
A Janesville based company, Simply Solutions, developed a smoke solution free of glycols and other carcinogens.
“It’s a really safe, organic product that doesn’t have the gas carcinogens that we know are dangerous,” said Simply Solutions CEO John Goepfert.
In fact, Janesville Fire Department is no longer using the training smoke they were before because of the concern of those carcinogens.
“One of the reasons we discontinued the use of our smoke generator that we have now is just because once we started looking into the information and find out what the product really was and what the risk were with it,” Ponkauskas said.
Additionally, the smoke created is more realistic than many other training smokes with the chemicals in them.
“We were amazed at how much product this would put out for us compared to our other smoke generating machine,” said Ponkauskas.
“We end up with a product that's safer but even more than that it works better,” said Goepfert. “So it's the best of both worlds.”
Simply Solutions says fire departments like Chicago, St. Louis, Miami Beach and others have started using Simply Smoke.
Many of the WI Technical Colleges are using it at their training facilities as well.
While the Janesville Fire Dept. has used it for a few training demos, they are hoping to secure funding to purchase one of their own to use.
To learn more about Simply Solutions, click here.