When our gear is exposed to the products of combustion it needs to be cleaned each and every time . This includes your helmet. Remember the lining of your helmet has cloth that holds the products of combustion. The front door of every structure fire and vehicle fire should display the skull and crossbones symbol we see so often in HazMat related incidents. The reason is because the chemicals we are exposed to in the fire were once in a 55 gallon drum headed to a manufacture to make the very contents of the buildings and vehicles we fight fires in. Once on fire these chemicals break down into the very products contained in the 55 gallon drum.Point being: If you were exposed to the chemicals from the 55 gallon drum you would fight hard to get them off you. So why don’t you treat the exposure to your gear in the same manner. The answer is simple out of sight out of mind, You can not see it. But believe me it is very real and is present on your gear. So I ask you to take the following steps to safe guard yourself.
- After every fire your gear is exposed to no mater how small, WASH YOUR GEAR
- Never take home uniforms that have been exposed and wash them with your families clothes
- Always take a shower right away after an exposure
- Never use your gear to wrap up your newborn for those cool photos , we all did it . Stop it
- Always wear your SCBA until the air has been checked and monitored. Remember the SCBA is protecting you against the air you breath not the fire . And as smart firefighters we know the worse environment for us to breath is in the overhaul phase of the incident.So for you young guys who think nothing ever happens to you . Go visit Chief Frye over the next few weeks , hold his head as he vomits from the poison they are placing in his body, sit with him as his hair falls out, pray with him as he wonders what tomorrow will bring . The best thing you can do for Jon is to protect yourself from being the next victim of cancer .