Houston firefighters can now start the process of removing soot and other possible cancer-causing chemicals from their work gear while in the field. All HFD engines have been issued post- fire decontamination kits. The new decontamination kits allow for fast removal of soot and will also help prevent fire crews from tracking chemicals into their trucks, fire station and into or onto their personal belongings and eventually into their homes.
A study done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows firefighters are nine percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than the general population. They also have a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer.
Completing on-scene gross decontamination immediately upon exiting the fire ground has shown an 85% reduction of fire ground contaminates from firefighters work gear.
“With the increased use of plastics and synthetics in modern day buildings firefighters are more likely to encounter exposure to toxins. Using decontamination methods in the field can play an integral role in preventing some of the cancer risks that firefighters face. The HFD is committed to creating a safe and healthy work environment for Houston firefighters. These kits are one component along with gear washers and diesel exhaust removal systems,” Sam Pena, Fire Chief.
Each kit includes a 5-gallon bucket, scrub brushes, detergents, hoses and spray bottles to help firefighter remove soot from their gear.