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NOTE: This is an unformatted excerpt from our online fire protection training library.

Nature of Smoke

Toxicity of Smoke

Studies of Toxic Gases

Studies on the causes of fire deaths have typically indicated that carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning accounts for roughly one-half of total fatalities. Direct burns, explosive pressures, and various other toxic gases account for the remaining half. Although the analysis of blood cyanide (which would come from exposure to hydrogen cyanide) in fire victims is sometimes reported in autopsy data, blood carboxyhemoglobin saturation, resulting from exposure to CO, is often the only fact provided. This provides no information on the potential effect of other toxic gases on lethality. Nonetheless, a significant emphasis on studying other toxic gases is placed by most research organizations in this field due to the fact that high hazards may exist from additional combustion products whose presence is suggested by the decomposition chemistry, although not necessarily confirmed by medical evidence.
NOTE: This is an unformatted excerpt from our online fire protection training library.

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