In recent years, the fire service has become aware of long-term health and safety risks inherent to the profession. Industry organizations and leaders are now making a significant push to raise awareness about these risks.
As science continues to evolve, best practices have been identified by these industry leaders, including the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). In a publication titled “Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service,” FCSN identified significant preventative measures that firefighters can take immediately to help protect themselves.
These best practices and preventative measures are supplemental to guidelines set forth in NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. The standard includes instructions for on-scene cleaning (referred to as “preliminary exposure reduction”) as well as advanced cleaning, which is to be completed whenever on-scene cleaning warrants the need, but no less than twice per year. NFPA 1851 was developed as a user guide in an effort to provide departments with general care and maintenance instructions. As the standard develops through updates and revisions, it is also intended to help departments assist with their own health and safety initiatives.
Enhancing firefighter health involves several department and firefighter changes, including the adoption of processes and practices related to decontamination and equipment usage. One factor related to equipment is how cleanable the equipment is.
MSA PPE solutions offer several features that can help fire departments and firefighters enact the FCSN cancer prevention recommendations, many of which were first to market.
- The G1 SCBA includes easily removable soft goods, that don’t require breaking pneumatic or electronic connections, to facilitate decontamination and routine laundering.
- G1 Soft Goods Kits are available as a second set of soft goods to reduce out-of-service time needed for cleaning and to extend the life of the SCBA’s soft goods components. The G1 Soft Goods Kit includes lumbar pad, shoulder straps, and facepiece head harness.
- The complete G1 SCBA (harnesses, cylinders, and facepieces) can be washed in a qualified SCBA washing machine.
- Cairns® fire helmets also include soft goods, including chin straps, that are easily removable, washable, and replaceable with minimal effort and no tools.
- Cairns Helmet Soft Goods Kits are available with everything needed to replace the liner and earlaps plus a handy laundering bag.
- The Globe Guard™ Hood offers particulate-protective barrier coverage throughout to help protect against airborne particulates, and is washable by hand or machine.
- The Globe Guard System for turnout gear is designed to help reduce the ingress of substances into the gear and mitigate exposure to the firefighter’s skin. NFPA 1851 offers detailed instructions on laundering turnout gear.
At MSA, your health, safety, and well-being are what drive us to develop technologically-advanced safety equipment to help protect you on the job. After more than 100 years in business, our mission remains unchanged: that men and women may work in safety and live in health.
Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service, https://firefightercancersupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/taking-action-against-cancer-in-the-fire-service-pdf.pdf
MSA Fire Product Cleaning Guidance, https://us.msasafety.com/fire-cleaning-guidance
MSA Firefighter PPE Cleaning and Inspection Guide, based on NFPA 1851 cleaning and inspection requirements, link to blog article https://blog.msafire.com/download-firefighter-ppe-cleaning-and-inspection-guide/