Reducing Exposure to Carcinogens

Research studies over the past decade have determined that firefighters are more than twice as likely to develop certain forms of cancer as the general public(3).  All too often it is assumed that exposure to carcinogens is only respiratory and that proper use of a SCBA is all that's needed to mitigate the risk. Studies such as the 2013 NIOSH research(1) suggest that hydrocarbons are absorbed into firefighters’ bodies through the skin and are likely being inhaled post-fire when doffing contaminated gear.

Fire-Dex is committed to addressing both forms of exposure; direct exposure during structure fires and secondary exposure from contact with soiled PPE. First, we are dedicated to designing innovative PPE solutions that reduce or eliminate the harmful particulates that can make their way through existing structural PPE. Secondly, we are working directly with fire departments to educate them on the NFPA 1851 Standard for structural gear cleaning & maintenance through regional seminars and our free online trainings.

Minimizing Exposure through Education

Fire-Dex is also committed to increasing awareness on the dangers of soiled PPE. 

Nobody wants to look like a probie in clean gear, we all get it, but the fact of the matter is the stuff that sticks to your gear from the smoke of modern structure fires needs to be treated like hazmat(2).  Please do everything you can to protect yourself and follow these 4 rules for structural PPE from the FCSN(3):

  • Do gross field decon of PPE to remove as much soot and particulates as possible.
  • Clean your PPE, gloves, hood and helmet immediately after a fire.
  • Do not take contaminated clothes or PPE home or store it in your vehicle.
  • Keep bunker gear out of living and sleeping quarters.

Click here to read the full list of the FCSN's recommendations on page 15, and if your department doesn't already have a Field Decon Kit, check out this great drill from Louisiana State U.(4)

Educating on NFPA 1851 Standards

Fire-Dex has begun conducting regional seminars alongside our distributors and partners to educate departments on proper cleaning and care for their structural PPE. Follow us on Facebook for updates on seminars in your area.

Additionally, Fire-Dex offers FREE online NFPA 1851 Training to guide you through inspecting and cleaning your turnout gear.

To help department keep track of their gear cleaning and maintenance, Fire-Dex proudly offers GearTracker, a online NFPA 1851 Management Program. GearTracker is completely FREE, user-friendly and available for use by any department. Visit geartracker.firedex.com to get started.

Minimizing Exposure through Better Products

H41 Interceptor™ Hood

As soon as the FAST Test Results came out in January of 2015, Fire-Dex began work with DuPont™ to develop the H41 Interceptor™ Hood with Nomex® Nano Flex Technology, which acts like a filter, blocking nearly all harmful particulates that otherwise pass through standard knit fire hoods. This was not an easy task; creating a fire hood to protect the face and neck from particulates 500x smaller than a strand of hair, but still allows the head and neck to release heat and moisture as well as a standard knit hood. Seems impossible, right? It very well could have been if not for DuPont’s Nomex® Nano Flex. Click here to learn more about the research that lead up to the creation of this hood, and to see how the H41 Interceptor works.

Fire-Dex Turnout Gear

Fire-Dex Turnout Gear has been protecting its wearers from harmful particulates for years before most of this research was even released. Yes, all structural turnout gear has a moisture barrier, which protects it wearers, but Fire-Dex Turnouts have been designed with such great attention to detail, with thought being put in to every aspect of its construction. Here are just a few ways in which all models of Fire-Dex Turnout Gear go above and beyond the competition in protecting you:

Deep Water Wells

Extra deep water wells at sleeve provide better glove interface, preventing particulates from entering at the sleeve.

Fire-Dex Collar

Fire-Dex collar is NFPA approved without a throat strap (which usually goes un-deployed) and is designed to interface properly with the SCBA face piece, helping to prevent particulates from entering where research has shown to be the most susceptible area.

Continuous Liner

The Fire-Dex collar also incorporates uninterrupted liner protection to the top of the collar.

Liner Attachment

Snap tabs keep liners in place, ensuring all areas remain protected by the liner's barrier.

Protected Liners

Thermal and moisture barrier are sewn together to protect the integrity of the moisture barrier by keeping out abrasive debris that can compromise its ability to block particulates.

Protected Membrane

Waistband's overlapping design keeps debris from entering between the shell and liners, which could erode and compromise the liner's protective membrane.

FXR

FXR's reduced sleeve retraction and reduced coat rise reduce the risk of exposing skin to carcinogens

TECGEN PPE

TECHNOLOGY-TECGENThe Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) puts it best, "many firefighters only have one set of gear which means they are continually re-contaminated from previous fires."  Yes, contaminated.  It may be hard to stomach, but you have to treat your gear post-fire as contaminated; there are toxins and harmful particulates trapped in your gear until washed out.

A 2nd set of turnouts is probably not in the budget, but it's also completely unnecessary for 90% of the calls you go on. Fire-Dex now has an option for those 90% of calls; TECGEN® PPE.

TECGEN PPE is designed to be worn as daily PPE - it's only one layer of TECGEN's lightweight, breathable fabric, and is dual-certified to NFPA 1977/1951 (Wildland/Search & Rescue).

Wear TECGEN as your daily PPE to minimize your exposure to the carcinogens trapped in your bunker gear between cleanings.

Defend Yourself With the Interceptor Package™

The Interceptor Package features PPE to combat both the number one (Cancer) and number two (Heat Stress and Cardiac Fatigue) causes of firefighting related deaths.

By bundling our FXR turnout gear, TECGEN PPE, and H41 Interceptor Hood into the Interceptor Package, Fire-Dex is addressing both cancer and cardiac stress concerns in both a comprehensive and affordable way for fire departments to protect its members.

(1) "Evaluation of Dermal Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Fire Fighters" Code 3 for a Cure, Web. NIOSH, December 2013 http://www.code3foracure.org/pdfs/studies/niosh_evaluation_of_dermal_exposure.pdf

(2) "A Study on Chemicals found in the Overhaul Phase of Structure Fires using Advanced Portable Air Monitoring available for Chemical Speciation", Oregon State Fire Marshal, February 2011 http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/Documents/AirMonitoringReport.pdf

(3) "Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service", Firefighter Cancer Support Network, August 2013 
http://www.firefightercancersupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Taking-Action-against-Cancer-in-the-Fire-Service.pdf

(4) "FETI Drill Guide: Decontamination after Structure Fire", Louisiana State University, FirefighterCloseCalls, April 2016 http://firefighterclosecalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/DG16-04.pdf