Sponsored Content: Sensitively sniffing out VOCs

Danati Fire and Safety is a leading investigator of fires and explosions covering Southern Africa. Their staff regularly use ION Science’s Tiger VOC detectors to help find organic chemicals that may be the source of a fire.

After firefighters extinguish a fire, an investigation is launched to determine the cause. Potential causes are evaluated depending on the evidence presented by the fire scene, burn patterns, and physical remains. Frequently, samples are taken and sent away for evaluation, which can be a lengthy and costly process.

Danati’s Lead Fire Investigator, Danny Joubert said, “The Tiger is extremely sensitive and will almost always give some level of reading when it is exposed to fire debris. Having done so on numerous occasions, I can honestly say that there are many positive aspects to this instrument.

“VOC detectors do not provide a definitive test for the presence of a specific accelerant or ignitable fluid. However, the Tiger indicates where higher than usual concentrations of VOCs may be present, and this will then prompt the investigator to take samples for laboratory testing, as per the NFPA 921 guidelines. Without the VOC detector, the average investigator can only rely on an interpretation of burn patterns and their sense of smell to detect the possible presence of a VOC. The Tiger adds a new dimension, and has allowed a far more thorough screening of debris to take place whilst the investigator is moving through the scene.

“The unit is very sensitive, allowing the investigators to disregard debris that might otherwise have been collected and subjected to expensive laboratory testing. Certified for use in explosive atmospheres, with high levels of sensitivity and resistance to interference from humidity or contamination, the Tiger is the only handheld instrument of its kind in South Africa.”

The most successful use of the Tiger for Danati related to a supermarket fire that was initially believed to be caused by an electrical surge, but with the help of the Tiger, and despite challenging conditions, the source of the fire was identified and confirmed by laboratory analysis.