While surfing recently, I came across this article and thought it was a good reminder for those firefighters that don’t always feel like wearing an SCBA. Stay safe, and take the precautions to keep yourself healthy.
Firefighting continues to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. Each year, about 105 firefighters die on the job, and many more are seriously injured (Health Hazard Evaluations, Fire Fighters, 1990 to 2001; National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety). Besides being exposed to immediate hazards such as smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning, and building collapses, firefighters come into contact with toxic materials that cause chronic diseases. Asbestos may be the most deadly of these substances. It becomes airborne when it is released from damaged insulation or other building components.
Asbestos exposure is linked to asbestosis, lung cancer, and an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. A painful scarring of the lungs, asbestosis can take from 10 to 50 years to develop. Early symptoms include shortness of breath and chest pain. Eventually, the disease leads to disability and impaired respiratory function. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the membranes lining the chest, lungs, and stomach cavity. Firefighters are more likely to develop the pleural form of the disease, which severely impacts breathing and will eventually prove fatal. Mesothelioma usually does not develop until from 20 to 40 years or more from the victim’s first exposure to asbestos. For more information, visit http://mesothelioma.net/ and learn the ins and outs of this life-threatening disease.