New download: 10 Considerations Related to Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risks

New download: 10 Considerations Related to Cardiovascular and Chemical Exposure Risks

Significant advances have been made in our understanding of the hazards associated with structural firefighting. A research team recently conducted a large-scale, comprehensive study to better understand how operating in an environment typical of today’s fireground impacts cardiovascular events and chemical exposures related to carcinogenic risk. The team consisted of the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), with support from Globe and academic researchers from Skidmore College and University of Illinois Chicago. During this study, the following were measured: The production of heat, gases, and particulates in the fire environment; Contamination of firefighters’ PPE and skin; Absorption of that contamination into the firefighters’ bodies; Heat stress and cardiovascular responses; How these variables were influenced by tactical decisions (interior only vs. transitional attack), operating location (inside ¬fire suppression/search vs. outside command/vent vs. overhaul); and Effectiveness of mitigation techniques (skin cleaning, gross decon, off-gassing). Based on findings from the study, the research team identified 10 key considerations related to cardiovascular and chemical exposure risks, broken into three categories: Tactical Considerations Related to Occupant Exposure 1. Getting water on the fire 2. The value of the hollow core door 3. VEIS from the inside? Exposure Considerations for Outside and Overhaul Operations 4. Heat stress during outside vent and overhaul 5. Hydrogen cyanide exposure to outside vent crews 6. High concentrations of PAHs and particulate exposure on the fireground Cleaning and Decontamination Considerations after the Fire 7. PPE and skin contamination 8. Gross decontamination 9. Hood laundering 10. PPE off-gassing For details about these 10 considerations, suggested...
Fundamental changes needed to address turnout gear contamination

Fundamental changes needed to address turnout gear contamination

In a recent meeting of the technical committee responsible for revision of NFPA 1851: Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, extensive discussion revolved around proposing modifications in how turnout clothing should be cleaned and, in particular, verified for removal efficiency of harmful contaminants. Changes have been recommended for moving forward with more frequent advanced cleaning of turnout clothing (At this stage, the changes have only been proposed. Ratification of the changes does not occur until the committee has formally voted on the overall standard.) Whereas the current edition of NFPA 1851 prescribes advanced cleaning to be performed at least annually, the new edition, if accepted, will require advanced cleaning at least twice a year. This means that those departments that follow NFPA 1851 will be conducting more frequent cleaning of their gear than in the past several years. AN EMPHASIS ON FREQUENT FIREFIGHTER GEAR CLEANING It must be pointed out that the NFPA 1851 standard has always indicated that firefighter clothing and equipment should be cleaned whenever it becomes soiled or contaminated. That requirement exists both in the current edition, as well as in the new edition. What is changing for the 2019 edition of NFPA 1851 is the fact that more frequent advanced cleaning is being prescribed for turnout clothing in general. Part of this change involves the promotion of language which indicates that exposure to the products of combustion represents contamination. Therefore, whether visibly soiled or not, the standard will be dictating advanced cleaning of clothing that is worn on the fireground. In addition to the increased frequency of...
6 Myths About Cleaning, Maintenance & Storage of PPE

6 Myths About Cleaning, Maintenance & Storage of PPE

By Patricia Freeman, Technical Services Manager, Globe Manufacturing Company The fire service has become extremely health conscious ‒ and rightly so. Proper cleaning, maintenance, and storage of protective clothing are essential to improving firefighter health and safety. However, there are some misconceptions about PPE that could hamper a firefighter’s ability to take a health-focused approach to these topics. With that in mind, let’s dispel a few myths with facts. Myth #1:  If I launder my gear too frequently, it will lose some of its flame resistance.  FACT:  The outer shell, thermal liner, and moisture barrier fabrics that make up your three-layer turnout system, regardless of manufacturer, will NOT lose heat or flame resistance regardless of how many times they are laundered. These characteristics are inherent to the base fibers, which means they cannot be washed out, worn out, or dissipate with use. Myth #2:  Dirty gear is the sign of a seasoned veteran. FACT:  Dirty gear is the sign of an uninformed firefighter. The truth is that the byproducts of combustion are combustible. Even with the inherent characteristics, flame and heat resistance can be compromised if the garment is worn in an extremely soiled condition. For example, a fiber such as PBI (Polybenzimidazole) will not normally ignite unless in the presence of a super oxygen-enriched environment. However, if a PBI fabric was dipped in diesel fuel and then subjected to flame, the fuel would burn until there was nothing left, resulting in the PBI shell fabric becoming totally consumed. Additionally, firefighters are subjected to many different chemicals and contaminants, all of which can be absorbed into the protective gear...
IAFF Cancer Summit: Things Need to Change

IAFF Cancer Summit: Things Need to Change

Cancer is one of the biggest issues facing the fire service and a leading cause of death among firefighters. The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is conducting a Cancer Summit on Thursday, February 1, immediately following their Affiliate Leadership Training Summit and Human Relations Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The one-day event will cover a vast array of topics, including the science linking cancer and firefighting, firefighting exposures, current research on the effects of this exposure, and new research on the fight against cancer. Globe is proud to collaborate with the IAFF and our supplier partners to raise awareness of the cancer risks faced by firefighters and to engage in research-based education initiatives to help keep them safe and healthy throughout their careers and in retirement. More information and registration is at...
Helping Volunteer Departments Protect Their Responders

Helping Volunteer Departments Protect Their Responders

Globe and DuPont Protection Solutions (DuPont), in partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), awarded 13 fire departments with a total of 52 sets of life-saving turnout gear in 2017 through the Globe Gear Giveaway. The program is designed to help fire departments with limited budgets who struggle to maintain adequate protection for their personnel. Awards in the 4th quarter were made to the following departments: Tanglewood Volunteer Fire Department (TX) ‒ The Tanglewood Volunteer Fire Department is located in Lexington, TX. Its 16 firefighters serve a population of 1,500 residents over 48 square miles and also provide mutual aid to three neighboring departments for structural fires, grass fires, and vehicle accidents. The department is predominantly self-funded and relies heavily on grants and donations for their equipment, repairs, upgrades, and daily operations, which leaves no funding for new or updated gear. One-third of their personnel have only wildland personal protective equipment (PPE), and the rest of the firefighters are outfitted with structural PPE that is over 10 years old and not compliant with current recommended safety standards. Tuscumbia Fire Protection District (MO) ‒ The Tuscumbia Fire Protection District (TFPD) is located in the middle of Miller County, MO, and protects 55 square miles with a population of 1,100 permanent residents. In addition to providing mutual aid to surrounding departments, the TFPD sees an influx of over 1,000 transient residents who come into the district to work at the area nursing home, court house, and school. They also have three daycare centers, five major churches, and the county health center in their service area, along with a service station...
You pull up to a call in winter and what do you encounter? Water and ICE!

You pull up to a call in winter and what do you encounter? Water and ICE!

By Bill Ells, Vibram USA, Inc. How do you then minimize the risk of slips and falls in winter conditions? Globe fire boots with Vibram Arctic Grip Pro Technology provide a level of traction on wet ice not seen before. In 2014, Vibram challenged its chemists, product engineers, and team of testers to develop a technology that changed the standard in winter traction and one of the most treacherous surfaces known to man – WET ICE. Added to the challenge, was to do it without the use of metal spikes or the need to stop and fix a separate component, or overshoe, to footwear. After years of development, countless trials, and a few failures, success was achieved in the development of Vibram Arctic Grip and Arctic Grip Pro – the most advanced cold weather gripping system Vibram has ever created. Globe, a longtime supporter of the Vibram brand, immediately took interest in this revolutionary product. After all, the goal of both Vibram and Globe is to provide the first responder with the highest level of performance available. Vibram Arctic Grip Pro is a combination of the highest performing rubber outsole compound, combined with an advanced filler system that provides unparalleled traction on wet ice, along with Vibram durability. The areas within the sole (see image at right) with yellow fleck in the lug, contain the advanced filler system that runs throughout the full thickness of the material. Vibram Arctic Grip and Vibram Arctic Grip Pro (Pro is the industrial version that meets NFPA requirements) have been tested in some of the most extreme environments. Vibram Arctic Grip Pro is...