Easy Firefighter Cancer Prevention Tips

With great risks comes great reward… or something like that.

I’m sure spiderman would be proud, though I’m not sure if he’s got the guts most firefighters do.

While my comic book reading is kind of rusty, I’m not sure spiderman had to deal with everything bad.

Pretty sure his superpowers make him healthy or some jazz.

But for the firefighters out there risking it all in training and in real life scenarios, they have a boogie man that follows them home…

where risking your life for strangers gives you cancer.

the ‘not-so-happy-ending’ that you didn’t know would even be a problem.

___

The good news is this,

you can have your cake and eat it too (in theory, because fuck sugar if you’re trying to beat cancer)

You just gotta know what to do to lower the risks and prevent the dreaded c word from being a part of your vocabulary.

Need to know more about the risks? Check out more of the stats and issues in the fire service

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First things First

Let’s not get hung up on training and fire strategies in relationship to cancer prevention.

If you are exposed to fires in any capacity, you have a risk of being around carcinogens from direct exposure and secondary exposure.

Gear… salty or nah?

it’s the 21st century and dirty gear is a sign that either you don’t know better, or your station is too cheap to have more than one pair of gear.

I know, I know, it’s about being Salty. Do the job, and then do your decon.

Clean your body ASAP.

Most people are using wipes in the field until they can grab a shower- these wipes should be free from alcohol (that just opens the pores and lets more exposure in) and from a brand you trust.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. There are several brands on amazon, and even more brands online. You have ZERO excuses for getting some wipes, even if your station doesn’t supply them.

They aren’t the same as face/makeup wipes- they should be larger, have an abrasive side, and individually packaged to prevent cross-contamination.

It’s a good idea…

  • Gear should be stored in a gear bag when clean, and a disposable bag when dirty. All Firefighters should have gear bags. Gear should not be placed in a home or in shared family space.
  • It should not be washed in a shared washing machine ESPECIALLY not at home. It should be washed with a detergent designed for bunker gear like this one, and there’s even a natural detergent for those that react to additives.
  • Wipe down all ‘non machine washable’ items like helmets, radios and straps, and boots. Most of these can be hand scrubbed and Boots can also be soaked. This is to be done soon after a fire to avoid contaminating other areas.
  • Those exposed should take a shower and use a cleansing soap. It’s recommended to use an activated charcoal soap and to wash more than once.

It’s important to reduce your exposure so that you can reduce your risks.

Not only should you be cleaning yourself after a fire, wearing gear during overhaul, and trading out soiled gear for fresh gear

BUT

you also want to make sure that you aren’t reexposing yourself to carcinogens after you’re cleaned, your exposing your family!

Take into consideration how secondary exposure could be affecting you and everyone you visit in bunker gear (the gas station, the school, the grocery store, your own home) and how you can reduce that.

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