11 Treated After Chemical Reaction Causes Problem at Plant in Montgomery, Alabama.

Photo courtesy of

A chemical reaction occurred in a production facility in Montgomery Alabama, causing the building to be evacuated. Montgomery Fire and Rescue treated 11 patients, with 3 being transported to local hospitals for conditions that are considered non-life-threatening.

Montgomery Fire and Rescue Special Ops (HazMat) processed the chemical situation.
Toxic industrial chemical (TICs) incidents are among the most frequent hazards encountered by HazMat teams. There are literally thousands of toxic industrial chemicals and materials used daily in manufacturing and processing facilities.

As a result, most HazMat teams have had to acquire, stock, and learn how to handle a wide variety of limited use decontamination solutions. However, two scientific breakthroughs are making it possible to significantly reduce the number of solutions used in HazMat operations.

The U.S. Navy developed Dahlgren Decon™, a truly effective broad-spectrum decontamination solution that chemically neutralizes or safely removes hundreds of know and emerging threats. These include most:

  • Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs)
  • Toxic Industrial Materials (TIMs)
  •  Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs)
  • Biological Warfare Agents (BWAs)
  • Pesticides
  • Synthetic Opioids and other drugs

FiberTect®, is a unique three-layer absorbent wipe which can remove bulk amounts of contaminants quickly and safely.

In a process known as Hybrid Decon™ HazMat operators first blot the contaminant with the FiberTect wipe, then spray the remaining substance with Dahlgren Decon and allow it to sit on the contaminated surface for the recommended dwell time. Finally, the operator removes the neutralized contaminant with a clean portion of the FiberTect wipe.

This Hybrid Decontamination™ process greatly reduces the number of solutions the HazMat team carries, the time required to mix and setup the decontamination solution as well as cleanup after the deployment.

Of course, no decontamination solution is effective against every known and emerging threat but First Line Technology, the manufacturers of both Dahlgren Decon and FiberTect makes it easy to determine if Dahlgren Decon™ will work on the identified threat.

An always available mobile and web-based app, the Decon Field Guide™ enables responders to quickly determine if Dahlgren Decon is effective against the identified contaminant, how to mix Dahlgren Decon and the recommended dwell time.

Because Hybrid Decon is such a new process, the First Line Utilization Academy™ offers both in-house Train-the-Trainer classes, and onsite HazMat team training.

For more information on Hybrid Decon, Dahlgren Decon, FiberTect, the Decon Field Guide, and the First Line Utilization Academy, click here.


How Did We Survive 2019?


Drug Dealer Throws Fentanyl at Police

Alleged Drug Dealer Throws Loose Fentanyl Powder at Police

An alleged drug dealer tossed a handful of deadly fentanyl powder at officers investigating a Bronx drug packaging mill.

As originally reported by Rebecca Rosenburg in the New York Post, members of the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force burst into an apartment with a search warrant on November 7. They found seven alleged dealers surrounded by a large quantity of heroin and fentanyl packaged into 20,000 single-dose glassine envelopes.

As the officers attempted to secure the apartment, Christian Rojas grabbed a handful of loose powder and flung it at an officer’s face.

“The officer exhibited fentanyl-related symptoms, including nausea and shortness of breath and was treated by emergency responders,” the city’s office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor said in a statement.

Another officer was sickened by the airborne powder and briefly lost consciousness. Two additional officers became ill from inhaling the dangerous substance.

Incidents like this are happening more frequently as the opioid crisis continues to spread. However, most of the risk of being affected by airborne fentanyl can be mitigated by wearing simple and relatively inexpensive personal protective equipment (PPE).

The selection of PPE varies depending on the estimated quantity of fentanyl and whether it is in loose powder form, pills, or liquid. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has established guidelines that are useful in determining the right level of PPE.

For complete NIOSH guidance on Fentanyl safety as well as a selection of kits to simplify preventing accidental exposure to opioids, click here.


Is Evacuation of Vulnerable Citizens Our Achilles Heel?

California Post-Fire Audit Shares Important Lessons

The recent devastating wildfires in California have created a greater awareness of the problem of evacuating vulnerable individuals during fast-changing disaster situations.

A new report from the Auditor of the State of California examined some of the factors that hampered county and state emergency managers in evacuating access and functional needs individuals. While the report focused on three counties as well as the California Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES), the problems cited will be familiar to emergency managers everywhere.

Among the findings of the report were:

  • None of the counties had completed an assessment of their populations to determine the needs that their communities will have during an emergency.
  •  In developing emergency plans, the counties did not involve community representatives of people with a variety of access and functional needs to provide insight.
  •  The counties did not assess the resources needed to assist people with access and functional needs during a natural disaster, such as accessible transportation and shelter resources.

While the report cites these deficiencies, it generally fails to recognize many of the underlying factors that contribute to the problem. It is easy to find fault but much harder to address the resource issues that could improve our response efforts.

Among the underlying causes are:

  • Staffing and Funding – Most emergency management agencies are underfunded and understaffed. Every aspect of our emergency response efforts require enough trained people and enough investment to accomplish the task at hand.
  • Developing and Maintaining Registries – While most OEMs have relatively up-to-date registries of patients in hospitals and nursing homes, maintaining lists of homebound patients and other vulnerable citizens is difficult and time-consuming.
  • Lack of Omnichannel and Multilingual Communications – Many elderly, physically-challenged individuals, and economically disadvantaged people are unable or unwilling to stay informed through TV, radio, and the internet. Even if messages go out on all these channels, they are generally broadcast only in English.
  • Limited Availability of Ambulances –Most ambulances are designed for single patients and require two to three EMTs. Few communities have enough available ambulances to handle both the regular level of medical incidents and surge capacity during a disaster. In addition, the equipment and storage in a typical incident mean they can’t accommodate multiple wheelchairs.
  • Mutual Aid Agreements aren’t much use in a large-scale disaster – Incidents like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy pointed out the glaring weakness of relying on mutual aid agreements for medical transport assets. When the disaster is so widespread, the partner you are counting on may not have enough assets to handle their own problems.

It has often been said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Emergency managers, public health professionals, and first responders should recognize the findings of the California Audit for what they should be; grant and business case justifications.

When a report like this comes out, use the findings as evidence that jurisdictions should invest more funding in staffing, public outreach and multilingual communications, and flexible, multi-patient transport vehicles.
Unless we educate the legislators who fund us, and convince them that more citizens could be saved with adequate staffing and evacuation assets, we will be reading reports like these every year.


Remediating a Residential Fentanyl Lab


Recent Bus Crash Kills 4, Injures 30

(Photo: Chris Caldwell / The Spectrum & Daily News)

Mass casualty incidents in rural areas pose unique challenges. 

In September of 2019, a tour bus carrying 30 Chinese nationals traveling to Bryce Canyon National Park rolled over and crashed into a guard rail. Four people died and at least twelve other people with injuries that ranged from serious to critical.

Mass casualty incidents caused by bus crashes in rural areas often lead to more fatalities than similar crashes in urban areas.

“A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study published in 2005 found that nearly 60 percent of fatal crashes occurred on rural roads, despite the fact that rural roads incur only 39 percent of the total vehicle miles traveled and less than 20 percent of the US population lives in rural areas. The frequency of fatal crashes involving large buses, often referred to as motorcoaches, was documented through the NHTSA Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) as occurring an average of 137 times a year during the period from 2000 to 2007, with less than 25 percent of these occurring in rural areas. Despite comprising less than a quarter of those fatal crashes, the rural incidents accounted for 56 percent of the fatalities and 72 percent of the non-fatally injured victims.”
(NASEMSO Rural Highway Mass Casualty Guidelines, November 2011)

There are a multitude of factors contributing to the disparity in casualty figures between rural and urban area bus crashes. EMS system subject matter experts assert that rural areas of the United States suffer from a lack of adequate prehospital response capacity.

In many rural areas, few ambulances are available to respond at any given time due to limited funding and qualified staffing. Ambulances may have to travel many miles to reach the scene over difficult terrain and in bad weather.

Open reaching the scene, there are not enough qualified EMTs and doctors to handle triage and immediate care for all the victims. With not enough ambulances available, patients may be waiting by the side of the road for extended periods of time.

While grant funds to rural areas such as the Supporting and Improving Rural EMS Needs (SIREN) Act are available, the funding levels are inadequate for most jurisdictions to purchase, equip, and staff a turnkey, custom-build Medical Ambulance Bus (MAB) to serve as a mobile treatment center. These special purpose vehicles can cost between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

Some rural communities have begun to adopt innovative solutions to improve their prehospital triage, treatment, and transport capabilities.

Utilizing a surplus school or metro bus, and a bus stretcher conversion kit like the AmbuBus developed by First Line Technology, they can deploy a multiple patient transport vehicle at the Basic Lifesaving (BLS) level that can accommodate 12 supine patients for under $50,000.

With additional grant funding in subsequent years or financial assistance from regional coalition partners, they can upgrade the AmbuBus to Advanced Lifesaving (ALS) level complete with power, heating and air-conditioning, wireless multiple patient vital signs monitoring, oxygen flows, and other capabilities.

First Line Technology can also supply customized and pre-filled Multiple Casualty Incident Blocks. MCI Blocks are a modular storage, transport, and deployment system that are color-coded to triage standards for easy identification.

With an ALS equipped AmbuBus and easy to deploy MCI Blocks, rural EMS units can greatly improve their response to mass casualty incidents.

Fore more information on the AmbuBus, click here.

To see the original article on the Bryce Canyon bus crash, click here.


Don’t Leave Victims Out in the Cold This Winter

Use an AmbuBus as an on-site shelter for victims and responders.

Smoke and flames begin to rise from a multi-story apartment building. The smoke alarms blare and the building’s sprinkler system begins to shower everyone and everything in it with cold water.

Terrified tenants run outside into the freezing cold waiting for the fire department to arrive. There’s no place open nearby where they can find shelter.

The first responders on the scene know they must get the victims out of the cold before hypothermia sets in. They call to the dispatcher and ask to have one or more of the regional AmbuBuses deployed as quickly as possible.

The first AmbuBus arrives within half an hour. Responders help the most at-risk individuals onto the bus. The warmth from the bus’s heater is welcome relief to the victims.

Some of the victims are suffering from smoke inhalation so the EMTs place them on the AmbuStretchers and provide oxygen through the Mass Casualty Oxygen System (MCOS) and monitor them with the Multiple Patient Monitoring System (MPMS)

Other patients have medical devices that require electricity, so they plug them into the installed AmbuPower system which is a noise and smoke-free generator replacement.

Two more AmbuBuses arrive shortly thereafter. The responders use the second AmbuBus to accommodate the rest of the victims. Some of them are in wheelchairs so the EMTs set up the AmbuRamp which simplifies loading them. They lock the wheelchairs in place.

The two AmbuBuses containing victims depart for a local school which will serve as a temporary shelter. Since there are no cots there, the responders quickly remove the AmbuBus frames and stretchers and install them free-standing in the school’s gym.

Since the third AmbuBus is not needed for victim transport or shelter, the responders flip some of the stretchers up so that the firefighters that have been working in the wind and spray from the hoses can get out of the cold and rehab before returning to the fight.

Now ask yourself, how would your department handle this scenario if no AmbuBuses are deployed in your area?

To find out more about the versatile AmbuBus Conversion Kit, download our FREE 24-page brochure or call us at (703) 955-7510.


How Do You Clean the Lock Up?

First Line Technology Assists in Jail Cell Decontamination

As fentanyl and other synthetic opioids continue to spread across the country, correctional facilities are discovering that prisoners are finding ways to hide or acquire these dangerous substances.

Recently, Al Lee of First Line Technology (FLT) received a phone call from Lieutenant Scott Brosis of the Aurora, Illinois Police Department. Correctional officers at the Aurora Police Department Headquarters had discovered that one of the prisoners had a stash of drugs that included heroin, meth, and fentanyl.

Concerned that the fentanyl may have contaminated the cell, they cordoned off the cell. Since they had never had to decontaminate a cell for fentanyl contamination before, they reached out to a private remediation company but were told that the firm did not decon fentanyl.

Lt. Brosis then asked Lt. Charlie Kunkel of the King County Sheriff’s Department if he knew of anyone who could assist them. Lt. Kunkel then referred him to Al Lee of FLT who had demoed our fentanyl decontamination solution there.

As Al spoke with Lt. Brosis, it became clear that since they had never dealt with fentanyl before, that someone should assist them in this first encounter.

Al offered to bring both an Electrostatic Decon Kit (EDK) and a sample of Dahlgren Decon. Al suggested that the Aurora Fire Department HazMat Team meet them at the facility so he could show them how to do the decon.

The next morning, Lt. John Ross and four other members of the Aurora HazMat team met Al and Lt Brosis at the facility. The spectrometer used by Aurora Fire Department was rather limited and could only detect up to 51% of fentanyl.

Fortunately, Al Lee had also brought a Synthetic Opioid Safety (SOS) Kit which contains BTNX Test Strips as well as the correct PPE required for small doses of fentanyl and both FiberTect Wipes and Dahlgren Decon.

Al suggested that they use the test strips to check for the presence of fentanyl. Two members of the HazMat Team donned PPE and entered the cell.

Using the tests strips, they determined that there was no fentanyl in the areas of the cell that where drugs had been found. However, to be safe, they decided to decon the cell.

Al showed them how to mix the Dahlgren Decon solution and dilute it with water for use in the Victory MG200 Electrostatic Sprayer included in the Electrostatic Decon Kit.

They sprayed the entire cell and its contents which only took a few minutes due to the efficiency of the electrostatic sprayer. At that point, they removed their PPE and disposed of everything following their department’s protocols.

“I was pleased to be able to help out,” Al said. “Once you see how easy it is to decon an area with the proper PPE, an electrostatic sprayer, and Dahlgren Decon, fentanyl isn’t a major problem anymore.”


Do You Know Decon?

When Water Makes it Worse

Thanks to Bob Wagner from Indiana TF1 for bringing this to our attention at the Indiana Hazmat Conference 

Earlier this year the Centers for Disease Control put out guidance to avoid washing raw chicken before cooking. This was met with widespread skepticism, as many families had been washing their chicken for generations as a matter of course.

However, the CDC had very good reasoning – washing raw chicken can aerosolize harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and spread it across the counters, dishes, and utensils in your kitchen. Even a single tiny airborne water droplet can contain thousands of disease causing bacteria. 

Anyone who has sprayed a fire hose or pressure washer has seen and felt the mist that comes up and is familiar with aerosolization.  

Aerosolization is the process of converting a solid or liquid substance into particles that are small and light enough to be carried on the air. Unlike vaporization the substances do not change their physical state to gas, however an aerosol made up of tiny liquid or solid particles can present some of the same challenges to the HAZMAT responder as a gaseous vapor. Aerosols can require different selection of PPE suits and respiratory protection, extensions of minimum safe standoff distances, and changes to where and how decontamination is conducted. 

Just like spreading tiny bacteria laden water droplets from raw chicken, decontamination by using traditional methods that rely on spraying water can greatly increase the chances of spreading contamination. In fact, using the wrong kind of decontamination can turn a stable or contained solid or liquid hazard into a far more dangerous airborne threat. 

New guidance from the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends using a dry absorbent wipe as the first step to safely remove bulk contamination. Besides being faster and easier to implement, dry gross decon is just as effective as water while posing a much lower risk of cross contamination. For responders in PPE, a low volume solution like Dahlgren Decon can then be applied to kill biological contamination and neutralize most chemical threats.

Enhanced using an electrostatic sprayer, Dahlgren Decon is applied as a very low volume, low pressure mist that attaches to the contaminant and prevents aerosolization. The application process is more like painting with an airbrush to evenly coat and contain the contamination, versus blasting it off with a pressure washer with all the previously mentioned risks of cross-contamination. The neutralized material can then be safely rinsed or wiped off as a final clean-up step prior to PPE removal.

First Line Technology products represent the state-of-the-art in decontamination technology and First Line Utilization Academy was created to advance tactics, techniques, and procedures for decontamination. To learn more about courses which teach safer, faster, and more effective Hybrid Decontamination techniques contact or visit 

First Line Technology Brings Expansion to Stafford

October 2, 2019


First Line Technology Brings Expansion to Stafford

Stafford, VA—First Line Technology, of Chantilly, is expanding its operations to Stafford. First Line, established in 2003, manufactures disaster preparedness, emergency response equipment and products for military and first responders.

First Line will purchase an office and manufacturing/warehouse facility on 487 Lendall Lane in Stafford County. The company sought out several sites in the region before identifying the Stafford site. The County and Stafford Economic Development Authority will assist in the expansion with an incentive agreement equal to a 50% rebate of the tax revenue generated by the company’s new business property investment over a five year period. In return, the company is committed to creating and maintaining at least 19 new jobs in Stafford.

“We are eager to encourage these types of businesses to expand and invest in Stafford,” said John Holden, Director of Economic Development and Tourism.

First Line has transferred and developed new products. Its newest product is a life-saving decontamination technology for warfighters and first responders nationwide. The U.S. Navy signed an exclusive license agreement with First Line in 2016 to permit the manufacture of the technology developed at Dahlgren.

“First Line is an excellent addition to Stafford’s business community. A growing business developing several lines of products for military, first responders, and civilian capabilities aligns with our ‘target industries’ platform perfectly,” said Board Chairman Gary Snellings. “It is wonderful to see First Line Technology choosing Stafford to expand their business,” stated Supervisor Tom Coen, George Washington District. “We recognize the need to protect our military and first responders, and are proud to be the location of a technology transfer agreement with Naval Base Dahlgren. We look forward to their continued expansion in Stafford County.”

First Line Technology is a minority-owned small business that develops and commercializes technology that defends the public from hazardous threats for U.S. and international first responders and military personnel.

“This property is perfect for us as it accommodates our needs for office space, our training capability, and the production and assembly of our products,” stated Amit Kapoor, President of First Line. “We’re excited about the continued growth of the company, and to partner with Stafford County to keep this success in Virginia. Fredericksburg Regional Alliance (FRA) was extremely helpful throughout the site Page | 2 selection process. Several facilities matched our needs, and we determined the Stafford location fit our current and long-term plans perfectly. It provides a place to showcase our corporate capabilities and space to grow additional product lines.”

FRA President Curry Roberts remarked, “Our hope is that First Line is literally the first of many businesses in the region that will open to develop Dahlgren’s military products for civilian use.”

For additional information and other work provided by First Line Technology, LLC, please visit or call 703.955.7510.

Read the original release here.


Hurricane Dorian Challenges Us to Rethink Preparation and Response

Dorian’s winds take damage to a whole new level. 

Hurricane Dorian smashed into the Bahamas with sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts of 220 mph. 

In an article by Jim McKay on Government Technology’s Emergency Management website, Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management was quoted as saying,  “Whatever the building code is in the state of Florida — and we have the best building code in the country — it was not built for Hurricane Dorian.”

Nor are Florida’s standards designed for two 2017 storms. Hurricane Irma achieved 180 mph wind speeds, and Hurricane Maria touched 175 mph. 

If these wind levels continue in future hurricanes, much of the effort that communities have spent into disaster resilience and response will be ineffective in protecting lives and limiting damage. 

Among the challenges planners face will be the decision to evacuate hospitals, nursing homes, and at-risk homebound patients instead of having them shelter in place. 

But with storms the size of Dorian, Katrina, and superstorm Sandy, the pool of available ambulances would be insufficient to handle the increased patient transport requirements. Mutual aid agreements would not provide much help as other communities will be attempting their own evacuations. 

Many communities in areas where hurricanes and severe storms are prevalent have already added one or more AmbuBus Conversion Kits to their disaster response capabilities. 

By permanently installing an AmbuBus Conversion Kit into an available school or metro bus, they have a ready-to-roll vehicle that can transport between 12 and 24 supine patients or a mix of supine and wheelchair bound individuals. 

Many of these communities stock additional AmbuBus Conversion Kits and temporarily install them in vehicles when there is advance warning of an impending storm. 

An AmbuBus has another critical advantage over ambulances in floods and hurricanes. A standard school bus has much higher clearance than an ambulance and can drive through a higher level of standing water than an ambulance. 

For more information on the AmbuBus or to download a brochure with complete information on configuration, pricing, installation, and operation click here


Massive Fires in California Force 180,000 Evacuations

Hospitals evacuate patients as fire approaches.

The ongoing series of wildfires in California continue to expand at a frightening pace. Driven by winds that often exceed 85 miles per hour, officials ordered evacuations in large areas of Sonoma County.

As originally reported in The Mercury News, officials at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Rosa evacuated over 200 patients including eight babies from Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

In situations like these, officials often have to choose between attempting to shelter in place or transporting many patients in buses with only bench seating. due to a lack of available ambulances

Shelter in place poses the least risk to patients but if danger from the fire or prolonged outages make that tactic untenable, evacuations become the only option.

Many communities in the rural areas that are at most risk of woodland fires do not have access to multiple-patient transport vehicles (MPTV) and must shuttle a limited number of ambulances or worse, use school or metro buses that are not equipped to handle supine patients or wheelchairs.

To give emergency managers a cost-efficient solution to this problem. First Line Technology developed the AmbuBus Conversion Kit that can transform any available school or metro bus into a twelve to twenty-four patient transport vehicle in less than two hours with no power tools required.

The AmbuBus can be permanently installed for immediate response or temporarily installed when fire risk conditions suggest they may be needed.

The AmbuBus can be equipped with power, air conditioning, multi-patient monitoring systems and multi-patient oxygen to reduce the strain on patients’ health.

Read the original article here.