Personal Carcinogenic Exposure Reduction Steps: PCERS
1. Use your SCBA from the initial attack through the end of overhaul. These incidents include structural fires, car fires, dumpster fires, debris fires, live training fires, etc. (Not wearing an SCBA in both active and post-fire environments is the most dangerous voluntary activity in the fire service today.)
2. Perform gross decontamination of all firefighting PPE and SCBA’s prior to leaving any fire incident. This decontamination can be accomplished by utilizing an air hose or a red line. (This equipment includes gloves, helmets, tools and SCBA Masks)
3. Use disposable wipes or similar methods to help remove soot and other potential carcinogens from all exposed dermal areas. This should be performed as soon as possible and before leaving the fire incident scene. (These areas include the neck, throat, jaw, face, hands, wrists, lower extremities and groin)
4. Utilize the Hood Exchange Program after an exposure. (Add locations of such equipment)
5. Clean and decontaminate fire apparatus interior after fires. (Don’t wait until the next rig day)
6. Bag up exposed turnouts to be picked up and cleaned.
(Remember to perform gross decon of PPE before bagging it up)
7. After a fire take a thorough shower and put on a clean uniform.
8. Do not take contaminated clothes or PPE home or store them in your vehicle.
(Contaminated clothing and PPE can continue to off gas and cause extended exposures)
9. Submit hazardous exposure reports, both electronic and hard copy formats.
10. Never wear or store bunker gear in living or sleeping quarters.
11. Use sunscreen whenever possible to help block UV ray exposure.
12. Stop using tobacco products.
**The use of EMS gloves (i.e. rubber, latex, etc.) and N95 masks are highly recommended during the cleaning of any contaminated firefighting PPE and equipment.
**The importance of annual medical examinations cannot be overstated — early detection and early treatment are essential to increasing survival.