When you earn your living as a firefighter, you probably put your life on the line every day. While the actual act of fighting fires present obvious risks, other aspects of your line of work also expose you to serious injury and health hazards. Your risk of developing or dying from cancer, for example, is notably higher than that of the general population, indicating a need for you to take increased measures to protect yourself.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, you are about 9% more likely to receive a cancer diagnosis when you work as a firefighter, as opposed to something else. Additionally, you are 14% more likely to die due to work-related cancer when you work as a firefighter than you would be if you worked in virtually any other industry.
Common sources of contamination
When you enter into burning buildings where contaminants are present, you wind up picking up some of those contaminants on your personal protective gear. The longer they stay there, the better the chances of them finding their way into your body, where they could ultimately increase your cancer risk.
While, in the past, many firefighters failed to wear or properly launder their personal protective equipment because they considered it a show of toughness, today’s firefighters are doing more to protect themselves. By properly and promptly cleaning your personal protective equipment after use, you should be able to reduce your risk of cancer to some extent.
You put your life on the line every day in your line of work, and chances are, you became a firefighter so you could help others. In order to do so effectively, though, you need to also take measures to protect yourself.