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...
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...
Balancing Firefighter Protection Is Like a 3-Dimensional Chess Game

Balancing Firefighter Protection Is Like a 3-Dimensional Chess Game

By Rob Freese, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, Globe Manufacturing Company, now part of MSA The alarming rate of cancer diagnoses among firefighters is very real and very serious. What we know is that firefighters have an increased risk for several types of cancer. Fires produce hundreds of toxic compounds; and some are carcinogenic. Everyone in the fire industry is at least talking about it. And some are quick to market with what they think the answer might be. We cannot lose sight of the fact, however, that cardiac events remain the leading cause of duty-related deaths. Firefighting leads to significant cardiovascular strain. Sudden cardiac events account for approximately 45% of all LODDs in the United States each year. The solutions to both of these problems are complex and involve trade-offs. It would be relatively easy to make turnout gear into hazmat gear to help protect against cancer-causing particulates and gasses, but that degree of encapsulation would lead to dramatic increases in heat stress. And that gear would make the work of firefighting almost impossible, which leads to the third dimension of protection. Fighting fires is demanding, physical work requiring maximum athletic performance. To perform like an athlete, turnout gear has to enhance performance and allow for a full range of motion. Like a 3-dimensional chess game, all of the above must be taken into consideration. Today’s threats are more complex and so helping to keep firefighters safe has become considerably more challenging. Science-Based Research A “silver bullet” to solve this 3-dimensional dilemma has been elusive because first we must attain a deeper level of understanding. Meaningful, realistic...
3 Ways Boots Made in the USA Benefit You

3 Ways Boots Made in the USA Benefit You

At Globe, we believe that “Made in the USA” means something. When you buy our athletic construction fire boots made in Maine, you’re helping to protect and preserve American jobs – not just for the workers in our boot factory, but beyond. We’ve made significant investments in the capacity to manufacture American-made footwear through lean manufacturing and producing components that were previously only available from offshore suppliers. Those investments are in new technologies, equipment, research and development, processes, and people. We are committed to source all boot components in the USA, a challenge in an industry that has essentially moved to Asia. If we cannot find a domestic source for a part, we learn how to make it ourselves. Globe worked with the University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center over two years, with a pair of seed grants from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI), to develop a process, then a machine, to make toe caps for our boots. That work was brought back to the USA from China. In a second MTI-funded project, in partnership with another Maine manufacturer and the University of Maine, we determined how to build a flexible fabric-based puncture-resistant barrier for all of our boots, replacing two components that were made in Asia. From there, we moved the sources of outer soles and footbeds from China to the USA. These changes have provided Globe with a flexible supply chain that can respond quickly to changes in market demand and design. They also have the benefit of keeping dollars circulating in the American economy. But what does all of this mean to you, the firefighter? There...
SMARTER Project Update: Data Collection and Analysis

SMARTER Project Update: Data Collection and Analysis

By Craig A. Haigh, MS, EFO, NRP; Fire Chief, Hanover Park Fire Department; Research Partner, SMARTER Project The deployment of physiologic data as part of the SMARTER project is well underway.  Data collection is progressing and the team is beginning the arduous task of analyzing the vast amount of information collected on each firefighter. The SMARTER (Science, Medicine, Research, Technology for Emergency Responders) research project is focused on advancing technology to improve health and safety in the fire service. SMARTER aims to employ scientific advances, medical knowledge, research findings, and technological solutions to reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities. The research is supported by the Assistance to Firefighters Grant funding and is being led by Skidmore College with collaborative support from University of California at Los Angeles, University of Illinois Fire Service Institute, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Fire Protection Research Foundation, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Hanover Park (Illinois) Fire Department, Globe Manufacturing Company, Zephyr Medtronic, International Association of Firefighters, and others. Data Collection and Analysis All Hanover Park firefighters are wearing Globe’s WASP™ wearable technology throughout their work shift to monitor and track physiologic data such as heart rate, estimated core body temperature, respiration rate, ECG, and movement. This data is then downloaded and transmitted electronically to Skidmore College – First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory where the analysis process begins. Individual files from firefighters are compared against emergency response reports, trainings, daily physical fitness activities and other events to determine how the firefighters physiologically responded to the various incidents and events. The process to manage individual physiologic data files and link the data to the physical...