Handheld Photoionization Detectors Assessment Report

Executive Summary

Handheld photoionization detectors (PIDs) alert emergency responders to potentially toxic atmospheres.  PIDs are nonspecific gas-phase chemical detectors, with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being the primary class of chemicals detected.  VOCs are organic, carbon containing chemicals that normally exist in vapor form and can be benign or highly toxic.  PIDs are low-cost, lightweight, easy-to-use handheld devices that provide rapid concentration information for VOCs ionized by a high-energy ultraviolet (UV) light source.  In June 2013, the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program conducted an operationally oriented assessment of handheld PIDs.

Assessment Results

Assessment Results

Criteria Ratings

Criteria Ratings

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons

Full Review

Emergency responder agencies that consider purchasing handheld photoionization detectors should carefully consider each product’s overall capabilities and limitations in relation to their agency’s operational needs. For a full report including assessment methodology, see the full report.