June 13-20, 2005

Agencies join forces to develop air quality monitoring capability for emergency response

EDMONTON, ALTA-A new $600,000 emergency response air monitoring vehicle will allow firefighters to respond immediately and monitor air quality during emergencies in Edmonton as well as central and northern Alberta.

Alberta Environment and Edmonton Fire Rescue Services began developing the vehicle in 2002, realizing that emergency responders needed to arrive on site as soon as possible to begin collecting air quality data. Alberta Environment's Mobile Air Monitoring Lab is sent to emergency sites when requested, but was never designed as an emergency response vehicle. The emergency air monitoring vehicle can take air quality samples and analyze them on-scene, providing firefighters fast, accurate test results. The unit is equipped with lights and sirens so that it can quickly respond to emergencies where air quality needs to be assessed or monitored. Specially-trained Edmonton firefighters will operate and maintain the emergency vehicle, while Alberta Environment staff will help calibrate the on-board equipment and train Fire Rescue staff in its use. Alberta Environment and the city of Edmonton contributed equally to the development costs of the vehicle, which is specifically designed to address air issues specific to northern and central Alberta.

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