All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter or soot, all of which are hazardous to firefighters’ health. The fireground today is a highly toxic environment requiring full PPE, including SCBAs during attack and extinguishment, and especially during salvage and overhaul.

In the 1900s, houses and their furnishings were made of wood, glass and metal. While still dangerous to firefighters, the burn rates of these materials were slower and temperatures stayed lower than modern materials, and there were very few studies focusing on the environmental hazards of putting out fires. Building codes referred to fire gases as “no more toxic than wood.” Read More...