Handheld, portable photoionisation detectors help emergency services, fire and rescue to detect volatile organic compounds from ignitable liquids

In the on-going fight against arson-related incidents, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is using TigerLT photoionisation detectors (PIDs) from Ion Science ( – leading manufacturer of high performance gas detection instrumentation for global occupational health and environmental monitoring applications – to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from ignitable liquids that have been used in the development of a fire.
Supplied by Ion Science’s UK-based distributor Shawcity, the handheld, portable TigerLT PID instruments have helped reduce costs and increase quality by preventing non-contaminated samples being sent for lab analysis.

A long-standing user of Ion Science PID instruments for more than 10 years, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service originally used the company’s PID FirstCheck 1000+. When these became obsolete, they purchased two Tiger PIDs and have recently added two TigerLT units to their growing portfolio of Ion Science VOC monitors.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s team of four fire investigators are each issued with a personal Ion Science Tiger or TigerLT for fire investigation purposes.

Over a five-year period, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service attended more than 1,500 incidents where fires were deliberately set using ignitable liquids. This is an average of six incidents every week.

Ian Mullen, Station Manager at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Incident Investigation, comments: “Ion Science Tiger PIDs are a robust and reliable product for detecting VOCs during fire investigations.

“The instruments are a tool to assist in the detection of the presence of ignitable liquids. This also allows the Police CSI to take a sample from a ‘confirmed’ area of post-fire ignitable liquids which can be sent for lab analysis.

“This prevents non-contaminated samples being processed which reduces costs and increases the quality of positive hits for ignitable liquids.

“The Tiger PIDs perform well. Our fire investigators take an instrument to each and every one of the 300 plus incidents they attend each year,” he adds. “The unit will be deployed if ignitable liquids are suspected to have been a factor in the incident.”

Ion Science’s TigerLT, which offers worldwide Intrinsic Safety (IS) certification for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, is a streamlined, low cost version of Ion Science’s well proven Tiger PID model.

Like all Ion Science PID instruments, the TigerLT incorporates the company’s advanced patented fence electrode technology. This unique triple- electrode technology ensures increased resistance to humidity and contamination for ultimate reliability and accuracy in the field.

With a detection range of 0 - 5,000 ppm, with a 0.1 ppm minimum sensitivity, Ion Science’s TigerLT also offers an unrivalled industry response time of just two seconds and equally quick clear down.

Both simple to operate and service, the TigerLT offers easy access to the lamp and sensor. The intrinsically safe instrument also meets ATEX, IECEx, UL and CSA standards.

It features long life rechargeable Li-ion batteries that can be safely replaced in hazardous environments and give up to 24 hours usage. Fast battery charging allows the instrument to be fully charged in 6.5 hours, while eight hours of use can be achieved from 1.5 hours of charging time.

TigerLT features a protective, removable boot for harsh environments, while a large, clear back-lit display allows for easy viewing in any light condition. It is IP65 rated against water ingress. An integrated torch helps direct the instrument’s probe into dimly lit areas. Other features include a loud 95 dB audible alarm, multiple language support and is IP65 rated against water ingress.

Ian comments: “The service from Ion Science and its distributor Shawcity has always been very good. We can’t fault the Tiger PIDs which offer a number of practical features for fire investigation, a short power up time, rubber boot, bright colour for ease of visibility and robust design.”

June 2020

Home - Search - Suppliers - Links - New Products - Catalogues - Magazines
Problem Page - Applications - How they work - Tech Tips - Training - Events