This won't come as a big shock to anyone - meth labs are toxic. Really toxic. Firefighters, police, and other first responders can't just walk blindly into areas that may potentially contain phosphine and ammonia gas. Wouldn't be prudent.
The AMC original series Breaking Bad explores the seedy, dangerous world of methamphetamine production and distribution. In graphic detail, it shows how cooking methamphetamine creates gases and solids that are not only toxic and caustic, but also flammable and potentially explosive.
In order to protect themselves and residents living nearby, real-life drug enforcement and fire department responders now use highly sensitive gas detecting equipment when searching these clandestine laboratories ("clan labs" for those in the law enforcement business, or who are avid Breaking Bad fans).
The ability to know what surprises the atmosphere holds before entry is especially important for our public servants' covert investigations, search & seizure, cleanup, and decontamination teams.
Over the past few years, competition for effective monitoring of these gases has yielded several good options for the folks working for the greater good. RKI Instruments produces a gas monitor called the EAGLE 2 which features an internal pump capable of pulling air from up to 125 ft. away. The EAGLE 2 then tests the air sample for levels of phosphine and combustibles as either parts per million (ppm) or as a percentage of the lower explosive levels (%LEL). This powerful monitor can be configured to detect levels of up to 6 gases, allowing a trained technician to make sure the area is safe for entry.
A more compact gas detection option is available from RAE Systems with their MultiRAE and MultiRAE Pro detectors. These devices, in addition to being able to monitor explosive and toxic gases, can be wirelessly enabled and multiple detectors can report simultaneously to a central command unit.
The RAELink3 features GPS positioning for each member of the team and syncs their monitors to produce real-time readouts. Good stuff when you are going in to stop the folks who have already broken bad.
If you have more questions about gas monitors, their sensors, or their capabilities, please don't hesitate to call 800-829-9580.
Thanks for reading.