5 Ways Firefighters Can Reduce Their Risk of Cancer
Firefighters risk their lives when they battle fires. This risk goes beyond the flames, though.
Firefighters often inhale many cancer-causing substances during the course of their careers. There are steps that firefighters can take to reduce their risk of cancer. They might not be able to avoid the cancer-causing substances while on the job, but they can take measures to lessen their exposure.
Keep Your Masks On
The mask is the firefighter’s first line of defense against cancer. Remember that the smoke from the fire carries substances from the materials that are burning. Keeping on the SCBA protects the firefighter from breathing in these toxins while on the job.
Remove Gear As Soon As Possible
Take off contaminated gear as soon as possible. Firefighters should remove their PPE gear immediately and place the items in an area away from their other working spaces and their living space. Their gear is covered in cancer-causing substances that could contaminate everything they touch.
Wash Up On Scene
Get washed up right away. Don’t leave the scene without a preliminary washing to remove debris and toxins from your gear and your body. The longer the smoke and toxins are left on you, the higher your risk for cancer. Use a neutralizing agent to decontaminate the toxins and remove their toxicity. Washing alone won’t get rid of all the toxins.
Get A Full Washing At The Station
Thoroughly wash your body after each fire. Make sure to get all the places where there are abundant blood vessels and where smoke will like to settle. Wash your face, neck, arms, and groin with soap and water and put on a clean uniform. Your laundry will also need a toxin-neutralizing agent to remove the carcinogens from your clothing.
Regularly Clean And Decontaminate Your Gear
Keep your turnout gear clean and decontaminated. This means cleaning your gear on a regular basis, including with a decontamination agent. Toxins can seep into gear over time, and soap and water alone won’t remove the threat. Make sure that your cleaning service also uses cleaning agents that are tested and approved by NFPA standards for PPE.