Best Practices to Reduce Occupational Cancer in FirefightersOctober 9, 2019
Firefighters put their lives on the line every time they are called to an emergency. From putting out fires to responding to dangerous chemical spills, these brave men and women do not hesitate to do what is required of them, even if it means putting their own lives in danger. In addition to the risk of serious burns, smoke inhalation, and heat exhaustion, they are also exposed to a range of occupational hazards that can increase their chances of developing certain types of cancers. The National Volunteer Fire Council and the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Volunteer and Combination Officers Section released a list of best practices that will help lower the risk of cancer in firefighters.
The best practices are included in the Lavender Ribbon Report, which found that firefighters are at a great risk of digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers, compared to the general population. In addition, they are twice as likely to develop malignant mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure. The Lavender Ribbon Report included an updated poster of 11 best practices that help firefighters stay safe and avoid occupational illnesses like cancer.
Best Practices for Preventing Cancer
Fire departments are urged to display the best practices poster in a visible area to remind firefighters to take the following life-saving steps:
- Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the entire incident.
- Entry-level personnel should be provided with a second hood.
- Wash the PPE using soap, water, and a brush. After it has been cleaned, place the PPE in a sealed bag and place it in the designated compartment on the fire truck.
- While still at the scene, wipe off any exposed area of the body, including the neck, face, arms, and hands. Wipe off as much soot as possible.
- Change and wash clothes immediately or place them in a trash bag until laundry machines are available.
- Follow the motto to shower within the hour, particularly after exposure to products of combustion or other contaminants.
- PPEs should never be brought inside the living quarters.
- Apparatus seats and interior crew areas should be wiped down on a regular basis, particularly after an incident where the crew was exposed to products of combustion.
- Annual physicals are critical to early detection.
- Cigarettes, dip, e-cigarettes, or other tobacco products should never be used.
- Any exposure to fire or chemicals must be fully documented on incident and personal exposure reports.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Firefighters with Occupational Illnesses
If you developed cancer, or some other type of occupational illness while working as a firefighter, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will work closely with you to understand the details of your case and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the full financial benefits you deserve. We will walk you through every step of the claims process and address all your questions and concerns. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.