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As well as providing a safe source of light, the lamp also detected both firedamp and chokedamp.
Most of the collieries were fairly shallow drifts and in them, because of anthracite's low volatility and slowness to oxidise, there was less danger from both firedamp and chokedamp. In general, gas was regarded as a problem only in mines where ventilation was inadequate, and there were, of course, many of these.