How Do Hazmat Suits Work?

Hazmat suits (short for hazardous materials) are suits that are meant to keep the wearer from contacting harmful substances with which they are working. Hazmat suits are full-body suits which should be accompanied by other protective clothing such as goggles, gloves, boots, and breathing masks. There are different classifications of hazmat suits—each with a different level of protection. The levels vary from A to D and each provide protection from different substances.

Level A

Level A hazmat suits are the most protective suits on the market. They offer the highest level of protection for respiration, skin, and the eyes. They keep out gases, vapors, and tiny airborne particles. These suits are extremely complex as they are pressurized and have full face-piece self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA). The suit itself must be completely chemical-protective and must be totally encapsulating. It must entail inner and outer chemical-resistant gloves, and steel-toe boots which are also chemical-resistant. Coveralls, long underwear, and a hard hat underneath the suit are optional depending on the application.

Level B

Level B hazmat suits are slightly less protective. They must have the highest level of protect for respiration, however the level of protection for the skin is not as high. The same SCBA and pressurization must be present, along with many of the same components including chemical resistant gloves, boots, and full-body suit.

Level C

Level C hazmat suits are one step down from this. They are resistant to airborne substances in cases where the concentrations and types of these substances is known and deemed less of a threat than scenarios which would require Level A or B protection. Level C hazmat suits require masks with air-purifying respirators, and much of the same clothing elements as Levels A and B. Coveralls, hard hats, boots, and face shields are optional if the situation calls for them. More equipment is usually a safer bet than less.

Level D

Level D suits are minimal protection suits. These are considered for “nuisance” contamination, and do not require the same sort of respiration equipment or chemical protection as the other levels. Generally, these suits have much of the same parts but with lower quality material.


Having the right type of hazmat suit for the job is crucially important to worker safety, but so is disrobing the suit. Safe removal of hazmat suits is incredibly important because it is during the removal that workers are at the highest risk of coming into contact with the substance with which they have been working. All protective gear should be removed by rolling it down from head to toe without your skin touching the outer parts of the clothing. This should be done in isolation and be fully removed before exiting the isolation area.

Courtesy of OSHA

Zika Virus Spreads to Texas

Infected Patient in Dallas, Texas

Reports are describing a patient in Texas who contracted the Zika virus through sexual contact. Texas has seen seven other Zika cases all related to foreign travel. This virus is usually transmitted through a bite from a mosquito. These mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. However, the virus can also be spread from mother to child around the time of pregnancy and birth, in addition to blood transfusions and sexual contact.

There have been no locally transmitted Zika cases reported in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers. With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase and could result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States. The Zika virus is currently being transmitted through the Central and South America and the Caribbean – as a result travel advisories have been implemented.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

The illness is usually short-lived and mild with infected patients very rarely needing hospitalization. Pregnant women face the most significant threat posed by this virus due to its link with the development of the serious complication of microcephaly in infants.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives the following guidelines for protection against the mosquitos that often cause the transmission of the Zika virus:



Travelers are at increased risk for becoming exposed to the Zika virus. There is no treatment or vaccine for the virus. Once the symptoms occur and the diagnosis is confirmed, patients are instructed to get plenty of rest, drink fluids, remain hydrated and take acetaminophen for fever and pain relief. Even though the illness may be mild there remains a serious risk associated with the transmission of the virus from mother to baby resulting in smaller than normal head size in the baby – a condition known as microcephaly. It is therefore important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites to stop the spread of the disease.


In Brazil there have been 76 infant deaths from microcephaly in pregnancy or just after death that may have been caused by the exposure to the Zika virus. The smaller than normal head size of microcephaly is due to brain underdevelopment in pregnancy or failure of brain growth after birth. Other infections, such as Rubella, Toxoplasmosis and Cytomegalovirus, severe malnutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals are also linked with the development of microcephaly. There is no known cure or standard therapy for microcephaly. Depending on the severity of the disease the infant may experience a variety of symptoms over his or her lifetime including:

  • Seizures
  • Developmental delay, such as problems with speech, sitting, standing, and walking
  • Intellectual disability (decreased ability to learn and function in daily life)
  • Problems with movement and balance
  • Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision problems

Therefore the CDC is recommending that pregnant women avoid all travel to more than 24 countries mainly in the Caribbean and South America where the transmission of the Zika virus has been most active.


Most Common Causes of Household Fires

Kitchen Fires

If you’re playing with fire, then first you better do more than just play at fire safety. If you’re cooking for a family then it’s a safe bet it sometimes feels like you’re producing, directing, and starring your own three-part hunger games series that plays back, in its entirety, on a daily  loop. Cooking may be an art form, and eating can be a great source of pleasure, but there can also be a fair amount of drudgery in the day-to-day routine of basic nourishment. And unfortunately, drudgery welcomes distraction.  But the most surefire way for your daily hunger games to segue into an unfortunate sequel that would be aptly memorialized under the caption, catching fire, is to leave cooking on the stove and unattended. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly half of all house fires start in the kitchen, and the vast majority of those flare-ups result from unattended cooking. So when considering ways to cook up your own kitchen fire safety plan, the ideal recipe begins with an attentive, and alert cook, first and foremost. Beyond that, some of the more obvious precautions for kitchen fire safety are.

  • Keep hand towels and electrical cords away from stovetops.
  • Pots and pans that catch fire should be covered with lids rather than doused with water or carried outside.
  • Always, always keep a working smoke alarm near the kitchen but not inside it.

Some of the more nuanced kitchen fire safety measures you may want to implement are as follows:

#1: Keep children’s participation in cooking under safe restrictions

Some children love to help out in the kitchen. Some are just curious to see what all the fuss is about, while others are busy chasing daydreams in imaginary dimensions that sometimes overlap with kitchenspace. For everyone’s safety, there are several restrictions and precautions that ought to be in place.


  • Pots and pans should always have their handles turned inwards to prevent a small child from reaching up and dumping the hot contents onto themselves.
  • Depending on the child, it may also be wise to restrict their proximity to the hot stove.

#2: Wubbies: More than just a child’s security fetish

The idea of fire safety in the kitchen can seem as counterintuitive as covering something that’s already hot with a blanket. We all cook with fire in one form or another. The word ‘cook,’ by definition, implies fire. It may even be fair to say that the primary purpose of the kitchen is to provide a space for conducting various fire events under our own control, just as much as the bathroom is a space primarily designed to let water into the room. And don’t assume microwave ovens to be any sanctuary from the dilemma either. Radiation is just as much fire as open flame, and dirty microwave ovens, or improperly used ones can ignite flames just as well as a gas range. Wearing fire resistant clothing (FR clothing) may be a bit too much, but more serious than the need to store towels in the bathroom then, is the need to store a fire blanket and extinguisher near the kitchen where they will be easily accessible in an emergency.


  • Store extinguishers and blankets somewhere adjacent to the kitchen, not so close to a heat source that they, themselves become a hazard, like for example above the stove.

#3: A Clean Kitchen: Next to Godliness but After Attentiveness …

What do you call an oven that doesn’t involve fire? A cupboard.

A clean stove may not be a fire-free stove exactly. Only broken, or unplugged, or toy replica stoves can be duly given that title. But, a clean stove is one on which an attentive cook retains discretion and control over the fire. Fires don’t control themselves, and grease buildup on stovetops, countertops, and inside ovens is exactly the kind of fuel that will set fire free from the confinement of the burners to roam all across the range and beyond.


  • Keep stovetops, ovens, and exhaust hoods clean and free from grease, and food buildup.

#4: Candles

It’s true, candle light does lend a nice, elemental ambiance to a room, and in the event of power outages candles become the typical lighting solution for most households, but when not tended diligently, they also become the cause of house fires. Over half of the reported candle-related fires occur when candles are arranged too near to combustible household artifacts like curtains, mattresses, and other furniture. The risk of candle fires appears higher when candles are used for lighting. So if alternative lighting is the reason why you’re keeping candles on hand, perhaps you should consider battery-operated, flameless candles as a safer alternative. If you do elect to stick with candles, please follow these guidelines.

  • Keep lit candles contained in sturdy metal, glass, or ceramic holders.
  • Place them no less than 18 inches from anything combustible, like curtains.
  • Rest lit candles on stable surfaces out of children’s reach where they will be less likely to get knocked over.
  • Avoid the use of candles in sleeping areas whenever possible.
  • Thoroughly extinguish all candles before going to bed.

Thoughts on Further Preparation

How long has it been since you last checked the batteries in your smoke alarms? How many times have you moved to a new place since the last time you designated and regularly practiced a fire safety plan in your home? If the answer to either of those questions is that it has been a while, then may we suggest a brief refresher in basic fire safety and planning? A call to your local fire department can help inform and supply a comprehensive fire safety plan specific to your living space and locality. While there may be some inconveniences involved with devising a plan, it’s definitely preferable to have fire safety plans in place and never need them, than to need them and not have them.

The Worst Fires in History

From Rome to New York, fire has been one of the most disastrous calamities to effect our world. Fire is a tool, it’s a weapon, and catastrophe all rolled into one. It somehow manages to find a place for itself at the table of every major catastrophic event, including ones that involve a lot of water, like tsunamis.

Fires are deadly and almost impossible to contain. Home fires cause more than $6 billion in damages a year. In 2012 alone, forest fires claimed 9.33 million acres of land, and cost nearly $2 billion to suppress.

Every five seconds someone is severely burned. Each year, 265,000 people are estimated to die from burn injuries, and chances are, that half or more of your own scars came from burns. It’s no wonder that industries that rely heavily on using fire as a tool have developed fire resistant clothing (FR clothing) to keep workers safe from what would otherwise be inevitable.

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New York Doctor infected with Ebola after trip to Guinea

Craig Spencer Doctor Ebola

A NY doctor, Craig Spencer, recently returned from Guinea from volunteering to help eradicate Ebola has returned infected with the virus. He makes the fourth person in the United States infected with the Virus.

Spencer returns to New York after Africa.

Spencer returned to New York on October 17th and began to start feeling symptoms of exhaustion and developed a fever this Thursday.

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The Walking Dead Season 5: Tools for Survival

AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead” has just launched their 5th season, and it’s already making waves. We can’t help but be interested in the techniques they’ve used to survive and stay safe from walkers, from disease, and from other survivors! So in this infographic we take a look at the tools they’ve used to survive (including weapons, shelter, protective gear, vehicles, and food,) and give a few suggestions of our own.

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Ebola in the U.S. – How Quickly Could it Spread?

The first ebola-related death in the U.S. has brought with it a major sense of anxiety for Americans. Its also led to the first two cases of ebola contracted within U.S. borders. Despite donning full personal protective equipment, a pair of nurses caring for Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan have already tested positive for ebola and are currently in treatment.

While we have every hope that these new cases will not lead to an outbreak on U.S. soil, the concern remains that ebola could spread quickly if not contained. Just how quickly could it spread? Check out some of the stats below to see why you should start taking preventive measures of your own now.

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Dallas Ebola Man Dies


DALLAS, Texas – According to authorities, Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died Wednesday morning at 7:51 am due to Ebola.

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Ebola in the U.S.: Maybe it’s Time to Panic a Little

The first official case of ebola in the U.S. has now been recorded after a Liberian man who was infected with the deadly pathogen

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How Tyvek® Suits are Helping Stop the Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak and Tyvek

West Africa’s Ebola epidemic from this past summer is the worst in history. As of August 31, 2014 the Center for Disease Control was reporting 3,707 total cases with 1,848 suspected case deaths.

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