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.
Tactics in the fire service have changed. It used to be that firefighters stopped the fire at the building. But now they’re going in deeper to stop the fire at the room of origin. Firefighters need training not only on the performance of their gear and proper donning and doffing but also on the limitations of their gear.
Dirty turnout gear is dangerous – refer to this infographic to make sure yours is clean.
The fire service has become extremely health conscious ‒ and rightly so. PPE is a critical line of defense against the dangerous environment in which firefighters perform their duties. Proper cleaning and storage of protective clothing are essential to improving firefighter health and safety.
The 2018 Edition of NFPA 1971, Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, is anticipated to be published in the third quarter of 2017, barring any public objections to the standard. NFPA standards have always included an annex, which is intended to provide explanations, clarifications, and even non-mandatory suggestions. However, the 2018 revision of the standard has gone a step beyond and introduced Annex B, which is intended as a guide to better understand performance requirements.
NFPA standards are revised every five years as a matter of course. There have been times when the process can take a little longer, resulting in a standard that is published in six years rather than the normal five, and occasionally the standard can be “short cycled.” A standard is short cycled only when there is a compelling reason to revise sooner than the normal five years, such as a breakthrough in technology or a previously unknown potential for harm.
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