Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Firefighters Face More Than Smoke and Fire

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Firefighters walk into dangerous situations all the time, putting themselves at risk in order to save others. Unfortunately, many of these men and women put their lives on the line only to develop a range of serious, chronic illnesses as a result of prolonged exposure to smoke and other hazardous fumes. Several studies have shown that a growing number of firefighters have developed certain types of cancers, including mesothelioma, as well as cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers remind these public workers that they may be eligible for benefits for their work-related injuries.

According to a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, firefighters have a 102 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with testicular cancer than the general population, and a 50 percent higher risk of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In another study conducted by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, among the 30,000 firefighters surveyed, there was a greater incidence of digestive, respiratory, and urinary cancers. Firefighters were also twice as likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure.

The Fallout from 9/11

During 9/11, firefighters from near and far showed up to help in any way they could. Since so many of these men and women developed health issues after helping at Ground Zero, more attention has been devoted to the hazards first responders face. Over 2,000 of the 4,000 first responders at Ground Zero have had to retire due to illnesses related to the hazardous fumes that they inhaled during the days and weeks after the attacks.

 Cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death are also on the rise, according to the executive director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Management Services Systems. Oftentimes, the stressful lifestyle and chaotic schedules many firefighters have contribute to these health problems.

Many of the carcinogens that firefighters come in contact with remain on their clothing, where they continue to inhale them. Washing the gear removes the contaminants and helps reduce the risk of illness. This is an important step to take, especially when firefighters are inhaling toxic smoke that can be given off from materials like burning plastic. Some fire stations have installed laundry facilities to encourage regular washing of firefighters’ gear in order to remove harmful contaminants.

Other steps firefighters can take to protect themselves from these harmful contaminants include using a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which delivers clean air from a tank to a sealed mask. While costly, these tanks are equipped with alarms that monitor the air in the tank. Firefighters can also use baby wipes to clean their face and neck as a way of getting rid of harmful materials from the skin, reducing the risk of throat and thyroid cancers.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Firefighters

 Firefighters regularly come in contact with smoke and harmful, hazardous fumes on a regular basis. If you have become ill as a result of your job as a firefighter, you are urged to contact the dedicated Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will fight hard to ensure that you receive the financial compensation you so deserve for putting your life on the line to help others. For a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.