Firefighters in the UK have been urged by their union to protect themselves from toxic fire contaminants. The firefighters’ union FBU said a study found rates of cancer in firefighters were more than four times higher than in the general public.
The research by the University of Central Lancashire involved 10,000 serving firefighters. FBU’s response – a new DECON training and guidance programme – encourages firefighters to take actions before, during and after every fire incident to help reduce their own, their co-workers’ and their families’ exposure to fire contaminants.
Firefighters are also being encouraged to fill in a University of Central Lancashire firefighter cancer and disease registry. FBU national officer Riccardo la Torre said: “In the past, firefighters have been let down by a lack of information and a lax safety culture being allowed to prevail. DECON guidance and training helps firefighters protect themselves through simple actions like better cleaning of gear and making sure to always wear breathing apparatus when it’s needed, never putting it on too late.”
He added: “We would urge every firefighter to have a look at the guidance and contact their local Fire Brigades Union representatives about the training. The University of Central Lancashire Firefighter Cancer and Disease Registry will also help save firefighter lives by pushing forward research in this area, so it’s vital that firefighters play their part here too and fill it in.”