Firefighting is dangerous. Everyone appreciates the perils of this valiant profession and the bravery our everyday heroes exhibit each time they run into a burning building. What everyone hadn’t understood until more recently, however, was the fact firefighters face an additional threat beyond flames, smoke, and heat. That threat is cancer, which is now considered the No. 1 killer of firefighters, according to the International Association of FireFighters.
TargetSolutions, a Vector Solutions brand, is a strong advocate for identifying ways to minimize the cancer risk for firefighters. Training is essential, but it’s also crucial for fire departments to enforce rules and provide constant reminders of how sensible precautions can make a difference. This often requires overhauling old traditions. For example, firefighters have long promoted the image of fighting fires with soot on their faces and gear. Similarly, firefighters are often anxious to remove their masks and breathe in fresh air after fighting a fire, overlooking the dangers of lingering smoke.
Having top-quality equipment is the first line of defense for firefighters, not only against fires but also against cancer. But when the gear isn’t thoroughly cleaned, toxic residues can remain. The National Fire Protection Association publishes the NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. This is the recognized standard on how to care for personal protective equipment. To make this information more accessible, TargetSolutions has released a training course that covers the material in NFPA 1851.
TargetSolutions is committed to helping firefighters stay safe and healthy.
Article by Marc Scheipe, Executive Vice President of Vector Solutions’ Public Sector
Original story publication available upon request.