DECON… not just for victims anymore
The increased risks of several types of cancer are well recognized throughout the fire service. Carcinogens as byproducts of combustion enter firefighters’ skin through PPE penetration, cross transfer from PPE to the skin, inhalation in the environment and gear off-gassing. This has become even more hazardous with the increasing use of synthetic materials in home furnishings and buildings. The Iona McGregor District has taken a proactive approach to protecting our firefighters from the harmful effects of the job they do everyday…
Washing gear on the fireground with soap and water is an effective way to decontaminate gear. Research is currently ongoing about the effectiveness of on-scene washing compared to NFPA-compliant commercial extractors but, in the mean-time, gross decon on scene is an effective measure to use in conjunction with more advanced options.
Wipes also appear to be an effective tool for decontamination and removal of PAHs from the neck area, but cannot replace a shower. A thorough shower and hand washing should be conducted as soon as possible after an incident.
The Iona McGregor Fire Department will continue to be on the forefront of these challenges. We will do everything we can to ensure your safety and the safety of our firefighters as well !