Firefighters face many hazards on the job. Many believe that these individuals sign up for the job knowing what to expect. However, these risks are still a hazard to their health and should be assessed and reassessed as often as possible.
One issue firefighters face is the risk of cancer-causing agents coming into contact with them. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among firefighters, a reality that isn’t discussed often in the media. For example, did you know that 54.8 percent of those n the Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wall of Honor died from cancer?
The fortunate thing is that firefighters do use protection against toxins and other hazards. Using self-contained breathing apparatuses and protective gear does give them some protection. Sadly, it’s not always enough. When cleaning the gear, there is a potential to come into contact with hazardous toxins, so a decontamination process has to be developed to help these individuals avoid injury.
Firefighters should have wet and dry decontamination processes, be trained to remain in their gear until decontaminated and be aware of how to store affected materials.
Another hazard firefighters face is the risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. You wouldn’t think these would happen, considering the hard work firefighters put into the job. Fighting obesity starts with focusing on health and wellness as well as physical fitness testing. Nutrition also has to play a role in safety.
Overall, firefighters are exposed to heavy risks but can mitigate some. If they’re injured on the job, then they should seek immediate medical attention.
Source: In Public Safety, “Combating Known Risks to Firefighter Health,” Keith Collins, accessed June 08, 2018