Improving the Health & Safety of all Emergency Responders

If firefighters are the most valuable asset in your department, are you doing everything you can to protect them? Rich Marinucci, executive director, FDSOA, offers a broader look at protecting firefighters.


Chief Concerns Richard Marinucci


Everyone agrees that firefighters are the most valuable resources in a fire department.

Service cannot be provided without human resources, and the quality of what is delivered depends on well-trained and healthy firefighters. The job can be very challenging when dealing with the thermal insult and toxic fumes generated by a fire. Further, the work environment, aka the building, can collapse in the middle of an operation. These hazards do not even include those present for other job responsibilities in emergency medical services, hazardous materials responses, and technical rescues.

The hazards present to firefighters are more prevalent today, and the list of risks seems to be continually growing. It is not just short-term danger but the threat of harm later in life. Most specifically, it is the increased risk of contracting certain types of cancer. This can be attributed to the increasing danger of the products of combustion on the human body. But, cancer is not the only threat. Firefighters must be protected from a wide range of injuries and illnesses. If departments are serious about protecting their most valuable resources, then they must take a comprehensive approach to minimize the risks to their firefighters, including health and wellness programs and quality protective clothing.

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