Mich. FD will be first in state with remote methane gas leak detector

Sterling Heights Fire Chief Kevin Edmond said the device will allow firefighters to quickly scan common venting points of a structure from a safe distance


Mitch Hotts
The Macomb Daily

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — The Sterling Heights Fire Department is set to become the first fire department in Michigan to be equipped with a handheld Remote Methane Leak Detector.

Methane gas is a colorless, odorless and highly flammable gas that presents a potentially deadly risk to firefighters responding to the scene of gas leaks.

Officials say the device allows first responders to quickly scan common venting points of a structure from a safe distance to determine the presence of methane gas.

Fire Chief Kevin Edmond said in a news release that the device can be used to detect gases remotely, keeping firefighters away from potentially dangerous structures and situations.

"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," Edmond said in a statement.

Heath Consultants of Houston, Texas, the detector's manufacturer, donated the $15,000 unit to the fire department at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The department will take possession of the unit next week. Firefighters will undergo training on how to use the detector in late May and early June, then it will be put into service.

According to Heath Consultant's website, the detector is an eye-safe laser-based natural gas detector that can quickly and efficiently detect leaks up to one hundred feet away allowing remote detection of difficult to access places such as; busy roadways, locked yards, underground piping, compressor stations, offshore platforms, plant/industrial inspections, gas processing plants, gas gathering, drilling sites, landfills, difficult terrains and more.

When the infrared laser beam is transmitted from the launch port, some of the laser light is reflected back and converted to an electrical signal that carries the information needed to deduce the methane concentration.

The instrument features include WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS capability and more.

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(c)2022 The Macomb Daily, Mount Clemens, Mich.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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