There are many moving parts in a firefighter's work, so the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has created an extensive list of standards to ensure a consistent approach based on proven best practices. The NFPA is a global, self-funded nonprofit organization created in 1896 to address fire hazards and reduce the risk of death, injury, property damage, and economic loss. In addition to creating codes and standards, the organization also provides training, education, outreach, research, and advocacy.Read More
The health risks to firefighters extend well beyond the immediate threats of flames, heat, and smoke. The fact is that toxic chemicals remain on turnout gear long after leaving the fireground, potentially resulting in long-term health effects, such as firefighter cancer and other chronic issues. Carcinogens on firefighter gear can also transfer to other areas, potentially contaminating vehicles, lockers, clothing, and personal effects. By using proper firefighter gear cleaning solutions, teams can reduce exposure to harmful carcinogens.Read More
Once the imminent danger of an active fire has passed, firefighters are still at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals at the fireground. Building materials, furnishings, and other items can produce toxic chemicals when burned, leaving carcinogenic residue, and other harmful byproducts, on the surrounding surfaces. If not properly decontaminated, firefighter turnout gear can present an ongoing hazard to anybody who comes into contact with it.Read More
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