It’s in the smoke: cancer-causing compounds and contaminates

It’s in the smoke: cancer-causing compounds and contaminates

Every firefighter today should know that smoke is dangerous. However, the visible particles of combustion that we see as smoke are just the tip of the fire scene contamination iceberg. There are several toxic substances and carcinogens firefighters need to be aware of and protect against present in smoke. We are now learning that firefighters and fire investigators need nothing less than the maximum level of respiratory protection during fire overhaul activities. The typical structure fire today involves the high temperature destruction of many types of plastics, foams, various species of wood, fabrics and other materials. Gases and particulates liberated from these burning materials often contain toxic, reactive and otherwise unhealthy chemicals that are both inhalation hazards and skin absorption hazards. Phoenix exposure study Researchers from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University collaborated with the Phoenix (Ariz.) Fire Department in a study to characterize firefighter exposures during fire overhaul operations at 25 structure fires. During those overhaul evaluations, air quality monitoring found the following substances or compounds exceeded published ceiling values promulgated at the time by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Acrolein. Acrolein produces intense irritation to the eye and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. Acute exposures may result in bronchial inflammation, resulting in bronchitis or pulmonary edema. CO. CO is present in all fire environments as a product of incomplete combustion and decreases the oxygen transport of the blood, which results in an inadequate supply of oxygen to the tissues. Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is classified as a probable carcinogen and adverse health effects due to...
The Continuing Debate on Turnout Gear Service Life

The Continuing Debate on Turnout Gear Service Life

Over the past several years, we have written various columns associated with the care and maintenance of firefighter protective clothing and equipment. One of the perennial issues on this topic has been gear service life. In many cases, this particular topic has been a subject of polarization among the fire service, particularly when it comes to firefighter helmets. In this month’s column, we attempt to shed more light on this topic to allow fire departments and individual firefighters to make better informed choices with respect to their gear service life. All clothing and equipment have a finite service life. For the most part, turnout gear is designed to be quite durable, made with rugged materials that are intended to repeatedly provide protection under a wide range of varying exposure conditions. By definition, service life is the length of time that clothing and equipment can remain in service while still providing a minimum level of protection. Nevertheless, even brand new gear that is subject to a serious fire event can require immediate retirement. Similarly, gear that is abused or improperly cared for can also lead to a shortened service life. The interpretation of service life will further depend on an individual organization’s understanding of what factors constitute continued safe usability of clothing and equipment, which can also be influenced by available resources. Yet, since 2008, NFPA 1851: Selection, Care and Maintenance of Structural Firefighting Protective Clothing has imposed a 10-year service life limit based on the element manufacturing date for any structural firefighting ensemble element, including garments, helmets, gloves, footwear and hoods. The reality of turnout gear service life Every...
Departments in OR and VT Receive Turnouts through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Departments in OR and VT Receive Turnouts through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Thanks to Globe by MSA and DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), two more fire departments are each receiving four new sets of state-of-the-art turnout gear. Since 2012, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has annually partnered with Globe and DuPont to provide volunteer fire departments in need with new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to better protect our nation’s responders. The latest recipients are the Gardiner (OR) Rural Fire Department and the Salisbury (VT) Volunteer Fire Department. Gardiner (OR) Rural Fire Department Gardiner is a small community of 425 residents on the coast of Oregon. The department’s 10 firefighters make do with turnout gear that is nearly 20 years old and doesn’t comply with industry standards. The town papermill had supplied Gardiner’s firefighters with some gear, but the closing of the mill has left the department to rely solely on tax dollars. The department often hosts fundraising breakfasts and dinners to raise money but is unable to purchase new gear on its current budget. “We are volunteers, we are here to serve and protect our residents and surrounding area, and we are dedicated to what we do,” said Chief John Swann. “Receiving the Globe gear will really help build morale amongst my crew and improve safety. Thank you very much for thinking of our [volunteer] departments.” Salisbury (VT) Volunteer Fire Department Located in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont, the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department protects 1,500 residents over 30 square miles. Only half of the department’s 20 firefighters have turnout gear at all. Those who do are wearing gear that is over 10 years old, making them unsafe according to...
3 Scientific Tests Prove Globe Boots with Arctic Grip Pro Soles Improve Your Safety

3 Scientific Tests Prove Globe Boots with Arctic Grip Pro Soles Improve Your Safety

  Are you prepared for cold weather calls? What you put on your feet really makes a difference where your safety is concerned. While no footwear can eliminate all slips and falls, Arctic Grip Pro soles on Globe’s athletic construction boots take firefighter footwear to the highest level of performance and safety available. Arctic Grip Pro is state-of-the-art sole technology specifically engineered by Vibram to perform on wet ice. A combination of the highest performing rubber outsole compound and an advanced filler system, Arctic Grip Pro soles provide unparalleled traction on wet ice. In collaboration with Vibram, we undertook three scientific tests to prove that our Globe boots with the new soles can help to reduce slips and falls in cold and wet conditions. Incline Ramp Test: Wet Independent testing was conducted by scientists and engineers of the iDAPT Research team at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) of Toronto. TRI has a unique set of testing facilities whereby they can mechanically pitch, up to 20 degrees, an entire room that has been conditioned to form ice. In this environment, the test protocol requires the tester to repeatedly ascend and descend the icy surface to the maximum angle achievable. TRI tested Globe footwear outfitted with Vibram Arctic Grip Pro and other styles and brands of cold weather footwear. Conclusion: The data reflected an eight times increase in the combined incline and decline angle achieved with footwear outfitted with Arctic Grip Pro. Load Cell Test Vibram conducted a load cell test, which was developed to test Arctic Grip Pro in real life situations. Ice is formed on a surface where a...
Globe Discusses PPE on iWomen Talk Radio Show

Globe Discusses PPE on iWomen Talk Radio Show

  Globe was invited to participate in a talk radio show hosted by the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services to discuss the importance of personal protective equipment. Pat Freeman, Globe Technical Services Manager, and Stephanie McQuade, Globe Marketing Services Manager, addressed the construction and materials for turnout gear, proper care and cleaning, and the importance of being fitted correctly for PPE. Other guests included Linsey Griffin, Assistant Professor Wearable Product Design, Human Dimensioning Lab at the College of Design, University of Minnesota and Susan Sokolowski, Director & Associate Professor, Sports Product Design, at University of Oregon Portland. They spoke about their women’s PPE research project with a group of 12 universities in the United States. Listen to the talk radio show on FireEngineering.com An interactive non-profit network, International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Service (iWomen) provides education, support and advocacy for fire service women. For more information, visit...
Three More Recipients Announced in the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

Three More Recipients Announced in the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway

  Globe by MSA, in partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), is giving away 52 sets of new, state-of-the-art turnout gear to 13 volunteer fire departments in need through the 2018 Globe Gear Giveaway program. Now in its seventh year, the program works to enhance the safety and capabilities of small-town fire departments across the U.S. and Canada. Recipients are being announced monthly throughout the year. The latest recipients are the Ben Lomond (CA) Fire Protection District, the New Victoria (NS, Canada) Fire Department, and the Huntington Volunteer Fire Company (Phillipsburg, NJ). Ben Lomond (CA) Fire Protection District The Ben Lomond Fire Protection District (BLFD)is an all-volunteer fire department with one paid chief. BLFD volunteers respond to an average of 500 calls per year involving structure fires, wildland fires, vehicle accidents, medical emergencies, public services, and more. All 35 responders are currently using turnout gear that is nearly 15 years old and not compliant with recommended safety standards. Due to obligations such as station repairs, apparatus replacement, and the need for new self-contained breathing apparatuses, securing new turnouts has been put on hold. “[This donation of] Globe gear would provide a fresh set of turnouts for our top responding volunteers,” said BLFD Engineer Dan Arndt. “This would not only help ensure our firefighters’ safety, it would also reward our responders for their commitment to the community.” New Victoria (NS, Canada) Fire Department The New Victoria Fire Department is located on the mouth of Sydney Harbour in the most northeastern part of Nova Scotia. The department responds to an average of 120 calls...