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The Flameless Firefighter Killer

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  • Tip Bones

I come from a firefighter family, so I have a great respect for the work that firefighters do, and the danger that they put themselves in. But ask any layman what kills the most firefighters, and you might hear "fire" or even "smoke inhalation." It's tragic when a firefighter loses their life to anything, but there's a little known killer that doesn't often get recognized.

We don't think of it often, but there's several reasons that firefighters wear such heavy protective gear. It of course protects them from flame and hazards, but it also protects from 'exposures.' Exposures are any contact with toxic chemicals found in emergency situations, many of which are carcinogens.

That's right. Firefighters get cancer at higher rates than almost anyone.

The best way to prevent these exposures is practicing decontamination. Cleaning turnout gear is how firefighters stay healthy. Departments are also now documenting exposures more than ever, ensuring that affected individuals get help with medical care if they do develop a disease linked to the work.

So, the next time you think about firefighters, remember that the danger isn't over when the fire is out.

Photo: Pixabay