FIRE Investigator Uses for CHAMELEON®



The Chameleon Fire Investigator Safety Kit alerts the investigating team to the potential of toxic gases allowing them to leave the area or take other precautions. Carbon monoxide (CO) and Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) detectors are commonly used by fire investigators, but fires in modern structures can cause the release of many other toxic gasses as well. The Chameleon Fire Investigator Safety kit detects eight toxic gasses that can be found at a site during fire overhaul, fire investigation, and other post-fire operations.




The International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) issued a Fire Investigator Health and Safety Best Practices Report in 2018. Amongst other recommendations, the report indicates that fire investigators should use air quality monitoring during all interior and exterior examinations.


The Chameleon Fire Investigator Safety Kit can be used to identify dangerous levels of a variety of hazardous chemicals that can be found during post-fire operations. The Fire Investigator Safety Kit comes in a plastic case, which contains two reusable armbands and ten packs of disposable cassettes, enough for ten uses. If you need more cassettes, we offer a cassette refill kit which includes ten more packs of cassettes. Details of the kit contents and part numbers can be found in the following table. 

*Cassette Refill kits include cassettes only in a cardboard box; no armbands or carrying case are included.

What does the CDC/NIOSH say about firefighter's risk of cancer?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division within the Center for Disease Control (CDC), conducted a five-year study of nearly 30,000 fire fighters from selected major US cities to better understand potential links between firefighting and cancer. The study found that fire fighters, on average, have a higher risk of certain types of cancer compared to the general population. It also found that the likelihood of certain types of cancers increased for firefighters who spend more time at fires or have a higher number of fire runs. More information about this study can be found here.

What are the chemical risks to fire investigators?

Whether a fire occurs in a residence, business or industrial facility, combustion creates a cocktail of toxic gases in the fire smoke. Today’s houses and businesses are full of plastics, foams, synthetics and chemicals that can release toxic gasses when burning. Even with the fire extinguished, the burn site may still produce unseen toxic chemicals. Since some of these chemicals are not visible and do not produce distinct odor, arson investigators and other personnel (e.g. conducting fire overhaul) may not be aware of the hazards in the air they breathe.


Originally developed under contract with the US Marine Corps, the Chameleon is made for the real-world. The Chameleon is worn as an armband, so it won’t get in your way as you do your job. It is designed for use in arctic, tropical and desert conditions. It can even be immersed in water. Thanks to the Chameleon’s simple color-change chemical detection system, it’s easy to know if chemical danger is present. One color indicates the absence of toxic gas. When two colors appear in the window, users know it’s time to take action. No chemical detector is easier to use.