UK firefighters’ union FBU is to expand its work on the health impact of fire contaminants – toxic substances produced by fires – on firefighters. The move comes after ongoing FBU-commissioned research by the University of Central Lancashire highlighted elevated cancer risks in UK firefighters.
At its May 2022 annual conference, FBU agreed to fight for its DECON best practice training and prevention programme to be expanded throughout the fire service, including via national guidance, contaminants monitoring, cancer screening and fire station design principles.
The union also voted to expand the research to take into account reports that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), found in firefighting foams and some protective equipment, are hazardous to health.
FBU national officer Riccardo la Torre told the union’s conference: “It’s overwhelming to see how much conference, our members, our health and safety reps and our reps in branches have taken on this campaign.”
He added: “We can be the DECON generation. Remember the dead, and fight for the living – that’s exactly what this fight is.”