There is an alarming rise in firefighter cancer rates, it’s only proper and important that you take all the necessary procedures to keep yourself, your team, and your department’s individual health in tip top shape. The most effective means of keeping yourself and your team’s health in check is through decontamination procedures that protects firefighters by removing any carcinogens from equipment, gear, fire trucks, and even the fire station.
This procedure involves the use of a variety of special equipments and products for the firefighters to clean themselves, their gear, equipment and as well as the fire scene.
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The decontamination equipment gets most of the job done in getting rid of any harmful particles. Priority and care is given to the firefighters themselves as they are the ones who receive the largest amount of exposure on the fire scene.
As standard operating procedure, firefighters should always decontaminate their gear and themselves before they leave a fire scene to prevent any health issues as well as possible contamination of the environment. An example of the decontamination procedures that firefighters perform include getting rid of any harmful particles on their turnout gear, their PPE, and FR clothing; and any residue on their skin or dermal areas. Fire fighters are offered decontamination kits and decon kit refills to help them in decontaminating themselves and their gear on site. These kits contain specialized decontamination products such as turnout gear, FR clothing, and PPE cleaning products and sprays as well as decontamination wipes, decon field wipes to remove heavy metal residue from skin as well as other decon gear.
Dirt, soot, and grime can easily be removed by your average super market and grocery store baby wipes but when getting rid of metals however, they are highly ineffective as regardless of how hard and intense you wipe down, metals wont just come off as they stick to the skin differently as opposed to how germs and dirt sticks. The burning of certain materials release harmful chemicals that are invisible to the naked eye such as heavy metal oxides like hexavalent chromium which can be released from heating stainless steel, ceramics, anti-corrosion coatings, chrome and other industrial materials and another heavy metal oxide which is lead oxide which is released from burning household items, decorations, paint, carpets and etc. Companies such as Hygenall make soaps, surface cleaners, and wipes that not only cleans soot, but also gets rid more than more than 99% of the said heavy metal oxides and other metals such as mercury, arsenic, nickel, copper, and etc.
You can see this website for more information regarding decontamination products for firefighters.