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Mass. firefighter invents device to limit fire truck exhaust exposure

Worcester Fire Department Firefighter John Callahan designed a way to direct fire truck exhaust away from first responders on the scene, limiting exposure to harmful fumes

By FireRescue1 Staff

WORCESTER, Mass. — A firefighter has created a device to limit first responder exposure to fire truck exhaust fumes while on the scene.

Mass Live reported that Worcester Fire Department Firefighter John Callahan designed a way to redirect fire truck exhaust away from first responders, which limits their potential to inhale deadly chemicals.

Callahan realized the fumes were a problem when standing next to a running fire truck after responding to a call about a burning building.

“At the time, I was thinking, ‘Why are we standing here in a cloud of exhaust?’” Callahan said. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘I just got out of that burning building, I was wearing my mask the entire time, and now I’m standing next to this truck and it’s blowing who knows what all over us and I’m breathing heavy from working so hard and I’m sucking it in even worse.’”

Heavy exposure to diesel exhaust is known to cause respiratory disease and lung cancer, which led Callahan to develop his invention he is calling the “Calavent.” It is a tube structure that attaches to the truck’s exhaust pipe and dispels the fumes up into the air and away from the firefighters.

Callahan has produced two devices so far and hopes to have the design picked up by a major company for mass production one day.

“It’s all about keeping myself and my coworkers and everybody safe,” he said.