Fire Investigator Safety

  • Chameleon chemical detection armband worn on a forearm for chemical detection
  • Chameleon chemical detection armband worn by police officer for chemical detection
  • Chameleon chemical detection armband worn by military personnel for chemical detection
  • Chameleon chemical detection armband worn by firefighter for chemical detection
  • Chameleon chemical detection armband worn by an industrial worker for chemical detection
  • Chameleon chemical detection device attached by hook and loop to a robot arm

Chameleon® Fire Investigator Safety Kit

What does the CDC/NIOSH say about firefighter's risk of cancer?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division within the Center for Disease Control (CDC), conducted a five-year study of nearly 30,000 fire fighters from selected major US cities to better understand potential links between firefighting and cancer. The study found that fire fighters, on average, have a higher risk of certain types of cancer compared to the general population. It also found that the likelihood of certain types of cancers increased for firefighters who spend more time at fires or have a higher number of fire runs. More information about this study can be found here.

What are the chemical risks to fire investigators?
Whether a fire occurs in a residence, business or industrial facility, combustion creates a cocktail of toxic gases in the fire smoke. Today's houses and businesses are full of plastics, foams, synthetics and chemicals that can release toxic gasses when burning. Even with the fire extinguished, the burn site may still produce unseen toxic chemicals. Since some of these chemicals are not visible and do not produce distinct odor, arson investigators and other personnel (e.g. conducting fire overhaul) may not be aware of the hazards in the air they breathe.

What are safety best practices for fire investigators?
The International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) issued a Fire Investigator Health and Safety Best Practices Report in 2018. Amongst other recommendations, the report indicates that fire investigators should use air quality monitoring during all interior and exterior examinations.

How can the Chameleon® Fire Investigator Safety Kit help?
The Chameleon Fire Investigator Safety Kit alerts the investigating team to the potential of toxic gases allowing them to leave the area or take other precautions. Carbon monoxide (CO) and Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) detectors are commonly used by fire investigators, but fires in modern structures can cause the release of many other toxic gasses as well. The Chameleon Fire Investigator Safety kit detects eight toxic gasses that can be found at a site during fire overhaul, fire investigation, and other post-fire operations.

Fire investigator working a burn site.  Arson investigator with a dog investigating a site after a fire.

Tell me more about the Chameleon
Originally developed under contract with the US Marine Corps, the Chameleon is made for the real-world. The Chameleon is worn as an armband, so it won't get in your way as you do your job. It is designed for use in arctic, tropical and desert conditions. It can even be immersed in water. Thanks to the Chameleon's simple color-change chemical detection system, it's easy to know if chemical danger is present. One color indicates the absence of toxic gas. When two colors appear in the window, users know it's time to take action. No chemical detector is easier to use. The brief video clip shows a Chameleon chemical detection cassette changing color in real-time upon exposure to a toxic gas.

What's included in the kit?
The Chameleon Fire Investigator Safety Kit can be used to identify dangerous levels of a variety of hazardous chemicals that can be found during post-fire operations. The Fire Investigator Safety Kit comes in a plastic case, which contains two reusable armbands and ten packs of disposable cassettes, enough for ten uses. If you need more cassettes, we offer a cassette refill kit which includes ten more packs of cassettes. Details of the kit contents and part numbers can be found in the following table. Click here for the kit's Operating Instructions.

Chameleon Fire Investigator Kit. Plastic case containing 2 armbands and 10 packs of chemical detection cassettes. Used by fire investigators and arson investigators.
Contents of the Fire Investigator Safety Kit Part Number Cassette Refill Kit Part Number1
Two (2) Armbands;
Ten (10) pouches containing one cassette each of the following: Ammonia, Hydrogen Cyanide, Hydrogen Fluoride, Hydrogen Sulfide, Low pH (acid), Nitrogen Dioxide, Phosgene, Sulfur Dioxide
Standard armbands (14"): 085190
Extra Long armbands (18"): 085190XL

1Cassette Refill kits include cassettes only in a cardboard box; no armbands or carrying case are included.