Firefighters encounter many known and obvious health risks—smoke inhalation, burns, and so on—but they also face an invisible threat. Exposure to carcinogens at the fireground is a serious health risk that is only recently being addressed in the industry. The results of a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study that linked firefighting with higher risk of cancer have sparked much-needed discussion of this issue.Read More
Firefighters rely on turnout gear to protect them from heat, smoke, flames, and other potential hazards, including toxic chemicals. Turnout gear—which is essentially all of the PPE worn to a fire scene—includes helmets, gloves, pants, jackets, boots, and any clothing worn underneath. Turnout gear has evolved over the years as the role of firefighters continues to expand and new information has been uncovered through research. Technological developments in materials also contribute to new trends in fire turnout gear. Whatever the kit includes, when it’s exposed to the fireground, it is potentially contaminated and should be treated before returning to the station.
The carcinogens that firefighters are exposed to present a serious health risk. A NIOSH study found that firefighters had a higher number of cancer diagnoses and related deaths. Because of this, researchers have recommended training and use of protective equipment during all stages of a fire to help reduce the health risks.Read More
Recent wildfires on the West Coast have brought renewed attention to firefighter safety. In addition to facing danger on a daily basis and battling exhaustion, firefighters face risks from the aftermath of a fire. Firefighter decontamination after a fire is an important step to protect their health and safety in both the short and long term.Read More
Firefighting is dangerous for obvious reasons, but one of the less obvious risks is exposure to harmful carcinogens. Decontamination on the Fireground of turnout gear and equipment is critical for protecting firefighting professionals from unnecessary exposure to dangerous chemicals. Because of this, turnout gear decontamination should be part of regular training to the extent that it becomes second nature.