View Full Version : Meth labs and Fire Fighting...
Wow, just returned from training today and 3 hrs of it covered meth labs and their relationship to fire fighting... All I can say is WOW...!
Now, I'm not one that I consider to walk around with my head in the sand but on one hand I'm totally shocked and on the other I'm so STUPID....!
In our county (work, not where I live) there were 300 labs busted last year alone...!;P Two weeks ago there was one nabbed in a Wal Mart parking lot...;Q
Good films covering fires started from labs and what to look for. It was totally fascinating and informative...
A added bonus to this was that my primary job is Security and secondary function at work is Fire Brigade. This was a real eye opener from both perspectives...
Anyone else here had any training like this...? Anything to share...?
A few years ago we had 4 hrs of class by the BCA. Almost every year, out hazMat awareness class touches on them. Seeing as how I happen to be the instructor, this seems to be of some import to me. :)
Living in rural MN, they are a common occurrence. One of the initial steps of scene size up is looking for the clues... Our SOP now say that if the fire in is a suspected meth cook, we revert to surround/drown. It's not worth killing one of mine to save a building that will have to be demolished anyway.
One anecdote -- back in the day when I was running EMS, I got called to a 38 yr female w/ chest pain. In the initial assessment, I ask, do you take any drugs (inferring SSRIs, Nitro, Hypertension...). Her response -WELL -- METH IF IT'S ANY OF YOUR (naughty word) BUSINESS!!!
Alrighty then, that explains the pulse of 138.
State BCI here put's on a 4 & 8 hour class & I've been to both.
Real eye opener to say the least.
I am going next week.
We have a real need for this.
There are Pot farms and meth labs in our rural mountain and desert areas.
I'm enrolled for this class. The NC SBI teaches it here. I am stoked to attend as I understand the course is very informative.
About 2 years ago we had at lest 4 large ones (and quite a few smaller ones) get busted in the NKY area in a very short time span. Caught a lot of people by surprise, as most didn't think it was an issue around here.
One in particular was not known about until it light up. Call came out for a structure fire. I was on the 2nd Ambulance in to the scene, so I missed the first 10 minutes of it.
From what I gathered from those who were there first, missed quite a show. Numerous propane tanks turned rocket, tons of small arms ammunition popping, etc., etc.. There was still ammo popping when I got there, but evidentially nothing like it had been. Someone must have had a small arsenal in the house.
The guy responsible was in his late 30's / early 40's, still living at home with his mother & father (they had no idea what he was doing in the basement). He wound up with something like 70% 2nd degree burns as well as some 3rd degree, not sure if he survived or not. He was 'drunk' and trying to bust the passenger side window of his car to move it when the first crews arrived on the scene, which was 10' from the house.
Now the scary part...there were no indicators of this being caused or related to a meth lab initially. No noticeable smells, no reported or noticed unusual activity, etc.. The fire was treated as routine for the first 15 minutes, until we were able to figure out what was going on. Luckily, the house was far enough away from the fire stations and was engulfed by the time anyone got there and an external attack was used.
I sat in on this class last night and found it to be very informative.
The scary aspect is that the labs are not always easy to immediately identify on a fire scene. Many of the example lab photographs we saw in class did not have labeled chemical containers or obvious chemical distilling apparatus. Most of the labs looked like overly messy kitchens, or dirty collections of auto chemicals in the garage or in a car trunk. coffee filters with red or brown stains, cold tablet blister paks, solvents, and discarded unlit match books are some classic examples of materials indicative of a lab operation.
The biggest thing I took away from the class is that firefighters need to be able to recognize the signs of a lab operation, and also to make sure that they don't breathe or otherwise get contaminated with that crap. Wear your PPE and SCBA, and get out if you suspect it's a lab.
We has a 4 door jeep rollover on the interstate & while the driver was pinned inside he was wigging out. Turns out the jeep was a rolling meth lab & the driver was afraid it was going to go BOOM.
Always expect to find meth labs in the most unexpected of places as until we actually made entry to the jeep & found the hidden compartments it looked like a "mormal" jeep full of crap.
The latest (or almost latest:( ) HP shooting we had here in OK, was a trooper who pulled a guy over for a tail light/tag stop. The driver opened up, killed the trooper, and left the scene. Meth lab in the trunk, it turned out.
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