Firehouse Friday Chat – with Jack & Mack

Jack & Mack

Jack & Mack OCT 23rd 2020

Each week Jack & Mack will answer your questions on any Hazmat and CBRNe matter. On Firehouse Friday they’ll meet to discuss an important topic in their own indomitable style!

Meet Mack – He looks like Ryan Gosling if you squint in low light.
Jack – a big, beefy, bon vivant with no neck, and a mustache like a squirrel having a drink.

Mack: “Hey Jack do you want to hear a true story?” Jack: “Yes that’ll make a change from your stupid jokes!” Mack: “Are you sitting comfortably?”
Jack: “Yes!”

Mack: “Then I’ll begin. Once upon a time, there were three monks who decided to leave the monastery and open a flower shop in a small one horse town in Texas, where they could sell flowers and exotic plants. They moved into a very small town and were doing good business until one day, they got in an exotic man-eating plant. The monks were quite excited and told all of the townspeople to come see it! Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the plant ate one of the townsfolk.

Now, this was a small town, remember, and it was now getting smaller all the time so, the mayor called a meeting at the small old town hall. Once the few residents had gathered, he asked them what they thought they should do about the monks and their man-eating plant. The town’s only police officer (who was also a National Guard CBRNe officer) stood up and declared “I’m the law in these parts, I’ll run them out!” This was met with roars of approval by the towns folk.

So, the police officer goes to the flower shop and, tells the monks “get out of town and take your man-eating plant with you!’ The monks are rather shocked by this and ask the officer if he has even seen the offending plant in order to get the evidence, he needed to have probable cause. So he goes in to see the plant, and wouldn’t you know it, he gets to close and the plant eats him!

Now, this was a small town, remember, and it was getting smaller all the time. They’d lost their police officer now! So, the mayor called a meeting at the small old town hall. Once the few remaining residents has gathered, he asked them what they thought they should do about the monks and their man-eating plant. The town’s only fire fighter who looked remarkably like you Jack, stood up and declared ,”I’ll chop down that plant with my trusty axe!” This was met with even louder roars of approval by one and all.

The firefighter goes to the shop to run the monks out of town, he is met by the bewildered monks at the door of the shop. “get out of my way monks!” he cries, “I’m here to take care of that pesky plant of yours!”. Frightened by this burly man wielding an ax, the monks quickly retreat. The fireman charges into the room, trips over a loose board and falls right into the mouth of the man eating plant!

Now, this was a small town, remember, and it was now getting even smaller all the time. They did not even have a police officer or a fire fighter now! So, the mayor called a meeting at the small old town hall. Once the few remaining residents has gathered, he asked them what they thought they should do about the monks and their man-eating plant. A little elderly woman near the back stands up and meekly says, “My nephew Hugh is a CBRNe officer in the National Guard, if anyone can stop them Hugh could!” There is great commotion in response to this some are concerned that they may lose Hugh, but, the people finally agree that this is as good of a plan as any, “not like we have anyone else, right?” said the Mayor.

And so, the CBRNe officer dons his protective clothing, goes down to the flower shop and demands that the monks leave town immediately and that they take their man- eating plant with them……………………..And wouldn’t you know it, those monks took off faster than a firefighters toupee in a hurricane!

Jack: “I’m going to kick myself for asking this, but what’s the moral of this story?” Mack: “Hugh, and only Hugh can prevent, Florist Friars!”
Jack: “Let me just kick myself! Then I’ll answer this weeks questions.”

Chris J. of Wisconsin asks a great question this week about gas detection calibration.

Jack: Firefighters, soldiers and you utility folks are generally not going to treat equipment like a small child wrapped in cotton wool. The kit gets thrown in and out of trucks, left out in the rain and drops more times than a one legged tap dancer! Then when they won’t calibrate, it sucks not to be able to work on a job because your confined space monitor is in the repair shop.

Then the repair shop lies about how long it will take. Normal repairs on a gas detector don’t take long. What DOES take long is waiting on a manufacturer to send you a part from a monitor that was discontinued years ago! That’s why I like dealing with Ideal Calibrations- they’re honest and charge you less. While you’re waiting on repairs, they will give you half off on a gas detector rental.

Their prices are low because Ideal Gases blends NIST Traceable Standards right there on their site in the same building. That means they don’t have to pay absurd prices for calgas, and they can pass those savings on to us!

High prices for gas detector calibrations unfortunately lead some companies to unsafe practices (like not bump testing daily or only calibrating every few months) and it makes sense to teach you to calibrate your own monitors more regularly on your own. That’s why Ideal Calibrations produce videos on how to calibrate every gas detector out there, starting with portable units and eventually moving to fixed gas detection calibration. If you don’t see a gas detector on their website that you need to know how to

calibrate? You can call them, and they’ll put it to the top of the list or walk you through over the phone.

I asked my friends at Ideal Calibrations for some FAQ’s and answers;

Can I use a 0.5lpm regulator when my gas detector wants a 0.25lpm regulator? What’s the difference?

Always use the flow rate your gas detector asks for. You can occasionally use a different regulator for a bump test in a pinch, but for calibration you need the right flow rate. The calibration adapters are all designed with that flow rate in mind, and if you use a different rate it can over pressurize or not provide enough gas to the cells. Always use the correct flow rate regulator for your calibrations.

How long does a calibration gas cylinder last? Should I buy the 34L or the 58L?

Of course this is going to depend on how often you use it, but I always figure about a liter per calibration. 0.5lpm is the most common flow rate, most cals take about 2 minutes, so we average it out. I usually figure 30 calibrations out of a 34L, about 50 on a 58L.

Is it safe to calibrate indoors using this cylinder?

Yes it is. Just make sure you have decent airflow in the room. The levels in the cylinder aren’t really enough to hurt you during normal calibration. Don’t breathe out of the cylinder or anything, but doing a calibration in your shop won’t be a problem. Obviously make sure you’re somewhere with fresh air to correctly zero the monitor out.

How do I ship calibration gas?

The answer to this question is 99.9% you can’t. The exception to this is getting hazardous materials shipping trained and certified, followed by signing a deal with Fedex or UPS and going through their hazmat shipping approval process. Otherwise, let whoever you’re ordering calgas from know and we’ll ship it to wherever you need it shipped.

Can I carry calibration gas in my car? Do I need placards?

Yes you can! You don’t need placards for carrying calgas around as it falls under the tools of the trade exception under DOT.

For more information please contact: https://www.idealcalibrations.com/

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