The IAFF and Masimo Team up on a Campaign to Raise Awareness of CO-Related Death and Injury Risks for Firefighters
New Carbon Monoxide (CO) Safety Campaign Featuring Actor Randolph Mantooth from the Hit TV Show EMERGENCY! Urges Education, Protection and Safety
Irvine, California – The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Masimo jointly announced the launch of a new international health and safety initiative aimed at educating fire fighters about the duty-related dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) and reducing known risk factors that unnecessarily kill and injure hundreds of fire fighters each year. The campaign, kicked off at the biennial IAFF EMS Conference in Miami Beach, Florida, will feature actor Randolph Mantooth — widely recognized as Los Angeles County firefighter/paramedic "Johnny Gage" in the popular 1970s television series EMERGENCY! — speaking out about his own near-death CO experience while highlighting the immediate and long-term health risks and prevention strategies of CO exposure at IAFF district meetings and conferences throughout the year.
CO poisoning is a danger at every fire, but its symptoms — headache, dizziness, fatigue — are often absent or non-specific, making on-scene awareness and detection difficult. This puts fire fighters at significant risk on the scene of a fire because even mild CO poisoning can rob the brain of oxygen,1 which can lead to poor decision making.2 It can also rob the heart of oxygen, causing immediate life-threatening complications — with half of on-duty fire fighter deaths being attributed to heart attacks or stroke.3 And, just one severe CO poisoning almost doubles their long-term risk of death.4 CO poisoning is often present without symptoms and is not easy to detect,5 — making fire fighter education and awareness a critical necessity. The new educational campaign builds on last year's efforts to increase CO awareness and safety among fire fighters by distributing education materials to more than 3,200 local union presidents in the United States and Canada.
"We are pleased to team with Masimo and with Randolph Mantooth in this important effort," said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. "This is a critical educational endeavor that we hope will help contribute to the protection of our members."
Mantooth's involvement is personal: "Since my own near-death CO experience and subsequent rescue by two fire fighter/paramedics, I've become an advocate of fire fighters, paramedics, EMTs, and other emergency responders as a first step toward repaying my debt to these brave men and women. I want to encourage them to protect their own lives, so they can be there to protect others."
Randy's new IAFF presentation encourages fire fighters to get their CO levels tested on the fire scene and, if elevated, seek prompt treatment. He also urges fire fighters to take personal responsibility for their safety by recognizing the dangers of CO and preventing unnecessary exposures.
"The trade-offs for ignoring the serious dangers of CO exposure are heart attack, stroke, loss of motor skills, lifelong disability, or death," Mantooth explained. "Our fire fighters need to know and understand these significant occupational hazards, how to properly protect themselves and prevent unnecessary health risks to improve the odds that they will be around tomorrow to do what they were born to do."
As part of the campaign, Randy has created a new web site — www.COsafetynet.org — to provide immediate and free access to valuable information and educational resources designed to increase awareness of the immediate personal safety, long-term health, and departmental risks associated with CO exposure for fire fighters. The web site will provide fast facts and other important information about specific occupational exposures to CO and associated risks to fire fighter health and safety, as well as links to resources designed to help keep fire fighters safe from the dangers of CO poisoning.
Joe E. Kiani, Chairman and CEO of Masimo, stated, "Fire fighters, within their normal course of work, are routinely exposed to dangerous levels of CO and bear the largest risks to their own health and safety. We are happy to partner with the IAFF and Mr. Mantooth to introduce this special CO education and outreach campaign to save the lives and preserve the health of all fire fighters from the potentially life-threatening effects of CO."
1 Bledsoe, BE: "The Perils of CO" FireRescue Magazine. September 2005.
2 Jakubowski, G. The Invisible Incidents: How to respond to CO alarms. FireRescue Magazine. 22(11):52–55, 2004.
3 Bledsoe, BE. "The Dangers of CO: Understanding Cardiovascular Risks to Responders from CO Exposure." Journal of Emergency Medical Service. 32:54-59, 2007.
4 Hampson, NB et al. "Increased long term mortality among survivors of acute carbon monoxide poisoning." Crit Care Med. 2009; 37(6): 1941-47.
5 Hampson, NB, et al: "Carboxyhemoglobin levels in carbon monoxide poisoning: do they correlate with the clinical picture?" American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 26:665-669, 2008.
The International Association of Fire Fighters is a member driven union — for fire fighters, by fire fighters — representing more than 295,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who protect 85 percent of the nation's population. With one of the most active lobbying organizations in Washington, IAFF serves as the primary advocate for providing fire fighters and paramedics with the tools they need to perform their jobs and is the driving force behind nearly every advance within the fire and emergency services for the past 90 years. With more than 3,200 affiliates protecting communities in every state of the United States and in Canada, the IAFF has established professional standards for the North American fire service and provides a strong voice in the development and implementation of new training programs and equipment. The IAFF in no way endorses, sponsors, or is otherwise involved in the design, manufacture, sale or distribution of goods and services by the Masimo Corporation. No representation, warranty or condition, express or implied, statutory or otherwise is given or assumed by the IAFF in respect to goods and services designed, manufactured, sold and/or distributed by the Masimo corporation.
Masimo (NASDAQ: MASI) develops innovative monitoring technologies that significantly improve patient care—helping solve "unsolvable" problems. In 1995, the company debuted Measure-Through Motion and Low-Perfusion pulse oximetry, known as Masimo SET®, which virtually eliminated false alarms and increased pulse oximetry's ability to detect life-threatening events. More than 100 independent and objective studies demonstrate Masimo SET provides the most reliable SpO2 and pulse rate measurements even under the most challenging clinical conditions, including patient motion and low peripheral perfusion. In 2005, Masimo introduced Masimo Rainbow SET® Pulse CO-Oximetry™, a breakthrough noninvasive blood constituent monitoring platform that can measure many blood constituents that previously required invasive procedures. Masimo Rainbow SET continuously and noninvasively measures total hemoglobin (SpHb™), oxygen content (SpOC™), carboxyhemoglobin (SpCO®), methemoglobin (SpMet®), and PVI™, in addition to oxyhemoglobin (SpO2), pulse rate (PR), and perfusion index (PI), allowing early detection and treatment of potentially life-threatening conditions. Founded in 1989, Masimo has the mission of "Improving Patient Outcomes and Reducing Cost of Care by Taking Noninvasive Monitoring to New Sites and Applications." Additional information about Masimo and its products may be found at www.masimo.com.