Wearing PPE properly is only one of many steps in helping to prevent illness and injury. In order to help reduce exposure to agents that can cause cancer and other serious diseases, firefighters must know decontamination techniques to assist in mitigating toxic substance contamination on their gear and bodies.
There are many cancer-causing agents firefighters will face on the fire ground, but there are also some hazards to be found at the fire station. In this course, we will examine the most common hazards found on the fire ground and at home, all of which can be the catalyst for the many cancers for which firefighters are at risk of developing.
Many volunteer departments are forced to make do with an inadequate amount of turnout gear or with worn-out, non-compliant gear they can’t afford to replace. That’s why MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) are working together again in 2019 to distribute new turnout gear to volunteer fire departments through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway Program. This annual program began in 2012 to help departments in need properly outfit their crew. To date, the program has delivered 455 sets to 95 departments.
In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighting Grant (AFG) funded a program titled “Science, Medicine, And Research & Technology for the Emergency Responders (SMARTER)” to explore the potential use of technology to address some of the most pressing health concerns in the fire service. The SMARTER team was led by researchers at Skidmore College’s First Responder Health and Safety Laboratory, and included leading scientists, fire service professionals, and gear manufacturers.
Recommending NFPA PPE product standards incorporate systematic ways of regulating restricted substances for new products.
Many firefighters face hazards that are easily visible such as structural collapse, hazardous materials, and high heat environments, but it is the unseen hazards that are most dangerous to firefighters today. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) concluded after recent studies that firefighters are experiencing a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths. In this course, we will explore the changing landscape of firefighting, the toxic substances firefighters are exposed to in the line of duty, and the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE).