Archive for February 16th, 2023

Cancer in the fire service

Excerpts from

PFAS chemicals help protect firefighters by repelling water and oils off their gear. They’re also used to make fire-suppressing foams “extremely effective.”

Firefighters were found to be more likely to get diagnosed with cancer and more likely to die from it, according to research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Lawmakers and researchers believe the presence of PFAS class of chemicals in their gear is likely a key reason for this disparity. PFAS have also been linked to other health issues.

Several bills this session aim to help Indiana draw attention to this harmful class of chemicals’ impact on firefighters – but alternatives aren’t available.

“What we’re finding out is that same piece of equipment that we think is helping us is also hurting us to a certain degree,” South Bend Fire Chief Carl Buchanon said in an interview.

South Bend’s fire department lost several firefighters to cancer in recent years. In early January, Firefighter Mike Brown retired from the department after 20 years. Weeks later, he was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer and then died on Feb. 9.

“So that hit home more so than even some of our other previous firefighters that have succumbed to cancer,” Buchanan said. “We all understand what our risk is in this profession and we dedicate our lives faithfully and willingly.”

Firefighters should be able to expect not to have the dangers of work follow them into retirement.

READ MORE: Bill would require labels for firefighting gear with PFAS, even though none are PFAS-free

House Bill 1219 would create a pilot blood-testing program that up to 1,000 firefighters can volunteer to participate in. The House passed HB 1219 with unanimous support Tuesday.

There currently aren’t any manufactured alternatives to firefighter moisture barriers with PFAS in them. The legal safety standards for firefighter gear may be getting in the way of manufacturers’ ability to use a different chemical.

HB 1219 originally appropriated $200,000 from the state’s general fund for this testing program. But that funding was stripped out by the House Ways and Means Committee., but the pilot should be fully funded as the legislature hashes out a new state budget in the coming days. There are also opportunities for federal grants to support the state’s efforts.

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New engine for Springfield

From the Pierce Flickr site:

Pierce, City of Springfield FD, IL, 37340-1; #SpringfieldFD; #FireTruck; #Enforcer;

Pierce composite

thanks Martin

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Wheaton Fire Department history

This from Mike Summa for #TBT:

For TBT- This was the Wheaton Fire Dept.’s Truck 411, a Seagrave 100′ rear mount ladder truck.  I have no information on this.  Photo taken in the early 1990’s.  Please fill in the blanks if anyone knows.
Mike Summa; #TBT; #MikeSumma; #WheatonFD; #vintagefiretruck; #Seagrave;

Mike Summa photo

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