OHS Canada Magazine

Dräger introduces new technology to protect against deadly smoke-borne gases known as ‘Toxic Twins’

May 8, 2018

Health & Safety Occupational Hygiene gas detection

Houston – Dräger announced a new patented ‘toxic twins’ alarm function on its X-am 5000 multi-gas monitor that measures CO and HCN against a combined threshold. The company has also published a whitepaper detailing the effects of the ‘toxic twins.’

In structural fires, smoke inhalatio causes eight times as many deaths as burns because of toxic gases. Two of the most deadly are carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN) – known as ‘toxic twins.’ Together, they create a lethal chemical asphyxiant that can put firefighters and victims into cardiac arrest at the time of the fire and cause cancer decades later.

Today’s fires burn hotter and faster than in decades past because of the prevalence of synthetics in building materials and furnishings, which speeds the release of toxic gases. While the fire service has known about carbon monoxide for years, hydrogen cyanide – which can be up to 35 times more toxic than carbon monoxide – is a relatively new revelation.

“We’re pleased that we can now offer the fire service a monitor that can protect firefighters against the deadly combination of gases known as the toxic twins,” said John Wilson, Senior VP of Sales & Marketing, Safety Solutions, Dräger North America. “We’ve also published a whitepaper that outlines the physical effects of exposure to increasing amounts of CO and HCN, the symptoms of HCN poisoning, and steps firefighters can take to protect themselves.”

New technology targets the toxic twins Because the combination of CO and HCN is exponentially more harmful than exposure to these agents individually, measuring each gas against its single alarm threshold is not ideal for overhaul operation.


Local press contact: Marion Varec

Tel +1 215 660-2186



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