This isn’t new news boys and girls, but the word is out. Personal hygiene is important. We’re not in college anymore, multiple showers and even on-scene cleaning and hygiene is a must in the fire world.
Cancer rates are rising among firefighters and research proves this. By now, your department has most likely implemented strict policies for not only gross on-scene decon but personal decon as well. The epidemic of cancer among firefighters is something that will consume each department if every hand in the industry doesn’t play a role in driving awareness, training and solutions to #wipedowntherisk
Recently, FireRescue1.com put out a great article with Three Essential Steps To Reduce Your Exposure To Carcinogens . Number 2, was something we happen to know quite a bit about.
Upgrade Your Protective Hood:
NFPA 1971: Standard on Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting specifies that particulate-resistant (or filter) firefighting protective hoods must have a particulate filtering efficiency of 90 percent or greater for particulate matter 0.1 microns to 1.0 microns (one micron is equal to 1/1000th of a millimeter).
Practice Personal On-Scene Decontamination:
Fire service groups, like the International Association of Fire Chiefs and International Association of Fire Fighters, along with firefighter cancer advocacy groups, such as the International Firefighter Cancer Foundation and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, all recommend the prompt cleansing of the head, face and neck as soon as a firefighter’s protective ensemble is removed.
Decontaminate Your Firefighter PPE:
NFPA 1851: Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting specifies that firefighter PPE cleaning and decontamination should be done using a mild detergent with a pH range of 6.0-10.5 as listed on the product’s original container or its Manufacturer Safety Data Sheet. A good example of a PPE cleaner that removes carcinogens and is NFPA 1851 compliant is CitroSqueeze. This specialty detergent has cleaned over 2 million sets of turnouts and has been extensively tested and proven to maintain the protective quality of textiles from major manufacturers of PPE apparel and FR clothing.
You can read the full article here, we were excited to Firewipes featured as the recommended product for “Practicing Personal On-Scene Decon”
Firewipes, was created for Firefighters, by Firefighters. We take on-scene decon seriously. Today’s fires involving synthetics, plastics and chemicals can cover Firefighters in a plastic soot. It’s our job to ensure we provide a wipe strong enough to help in wiping down the risk of carcinogens by removing particulates and contaminants on the skin.
A Firewipe in every bag, bucket, pocket and department is the goal. Keep in mind, with 3 routes of exposure; 1. Inhalation, 2. Ingestion, 3. Absorption in the skin – This article and Firewipes are a must. When it comes to #2 on the list from FireRescue1.com, make sure your using your Firewipes.
- Clean your hands very well and in between your fingers.
- Use a new wipe for your face, forehead, cheeks and eyes.
- Another wipe for the neck region and behind your ears.
The neck with it’s various glands, thinner skin and more hair are a potential route that allows travel of those contaminants though hair follicles and open pours. Let’s be smart here, #wipedowntherisk.