Project to establish cleaning procedures for firefighter PPE

“Firefighters are exposed to highly toxic substances on the fireground which is an increasing health concern, and there are currently no industry standards that reliably show if clothing is being adequately cleaned. A new Research Foundation project intended to establish definitive guidelines to the fire service for effectively decontaminating and cleaning their PPE.”

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Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Deliver Health Benefits to Volunteer Firefighters Across New York

“Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today (10/22) signed legislation to deliver health care benefits to volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with certain cancers.

“New York is forever grateful to the 96,000 volunteer firefighters who selflessly put their own personal safety at risk in order to keep their neighbors and communities safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this measure, we will provide these courageous New Yorkers the protections they need and the peace of mind they deserve.”

Currently, volunteer firefighters are eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through Workers’ Compensation if they are injured in the line of duty. Effective January 1, 2019, firefighters will also be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for life-threatening cancers.

Under the bill (S1411B- A711B), volunteer firefighters who contract certain cancers will receive access to tax free disability and death benefits. Specifically, volunteer firefighters diagnosed with lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive systems, or melanoma cancer will be automatically eligible for health benefits if….”

Firefighter equipment operational environment: evaluation of thermal conditions

“With the changes of construction materials, insulation, and furnishings, fires today are very different than they were 50 years ago. Firefighting tactics and PPE have also changed, but are the current thermal performance standards for firefighter PPE and safety equipment appropriate for the current operational environment?”

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Fire loss in the United States

“More than 1.3 million fires were reported by fire departments in 2016, resulting in an estimated 3,390 civilian deaths-the highest number of fatalities since 2008. NFPA’s new report discusses trends and statistics of structure fires, deaths, injuries, property losses, and more.”

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Great Awakening–The growing momentum around the problem of firefighter cancer

“My oldest brother, John, became a firefighter in Lexington, Massachusetts, in the late 1960s. Among the department’s four recruits the year he joined was a young man named Ken Donnelly. Kenny, as we called him, served 37 years in the department before he “retired” to become a state senator who championed, among other things, emergency responders and public safety. Late last summer, Kenny was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. He died in April at the age of 66.

Although cancer is hardly a new affliction, and despite multiple studies going back decades showing elevated risks of cancer for firefighters due to at-work exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, it wasn’t until recently that fire departments large and small began thinking more seriously about it. Thankfully, we now seem to be in the midst of a great awakening in the fire service and beyond about the cancer risk, and a collective movement is underway to address it. Researchers have a huge role to play in this effort, not only to offer assistance on how to combat cancer in the fire service but also to provide independent technical information to inform policy.”

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