Safety First: 5 Things Fire Safety Company Should Know About Firefighter’s Health
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire hazards are frequent in US households and commercial buildings.
Every 23 seconds, a fire safety company responds to an emergency. As of 2021, 14,700 people were exposed to casual and 3,800 to fatal injuries.
Due to the rising incidents of fire breakout, commencing a fire safety company is a wise decision. It will aid in mitigating the threats and limiting the rising fatality toll.
However, before stepping into this industry, it is crucial to learn about the possible risks. As a service provider, your aim will be to cater to the audience’s needs and earn revenue. Though, the firefighters will perform the job on the field, risking their health.
Of course, they are well-trained and certified for the job. Still, it would be best if you learn about the possible risks to firefighters’ health and take appropriate steps to take care of your staff.
So, let’s get down to business.
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Did you know that cancer is among the prime causes of fatality in firefighters? According to The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), nearly 54.8% of professionals died of cancer.
This is because of continuous exposure to toxic chemicals found in Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF).
This form is often used to suppress the fire and during training sessions. Unfortunately, the chemicals present in this form accumulate in the body over time.
As a result, the professionals develop the risk of cancer (prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and testicular cancer) and other life-threatening diseases.
Now, here’s the catch. The exposure to toxic chemicals is not the fault of the service-providing company. It is because the majority of the local fire departments lack information about the harmful effects of AFFF.
Instead, it is due to the negligence on the part of AFFF manufacturers. They have known the threats for over a decade. Despite that, they made little to no effort to raise awareness.
As a result, firefighters and individuals diagnosed with cancer are filing an aqueous film-forming foam lawsuit against the producers and distributors of AFFF. Knowing this information is critical to safeguard your staff.
In addition, if your experienced staff has already been diagnosed with cancer (for which you had to lay them off), you can make them aware of their rights.
Filing a lawsuit will assist them in gaining financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Obesity And Heart Diseases
As per the CDC’s report, people working in protective services such as police, EMS, fire, and others have a higher risk of obesity. This is because professionals in high-risk industries consume high sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Quite evidently, this leads to obesity and other health-associated issues, namely high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, coronary heart disease, and more.
Due to the fact that approximately one-third of American adults are obese, this issue may seem minute to many safety companies. However, not having physically fit staff will eventually affect the service quality- which must not be compromised with.
Therefore, you must set up a firefighter-centric physical fitness program to ensure your staff’s utmost health and safety. Some of the resources that you may use to raise awareness about obesity and promote fitness are:
As stated above, fire incidents are quite frequent. Thereby, fire safety companies work around the clock to provide their service as and when required. Due to this, the staff is often sleep-deprived, leading to other severe health conditions.
Unfortunately, events during the night affect the circadian rhythm contributing to depression, stress, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Studies have shown that 36% of people who get inadequate sleep have a high risk of colorectal cancer. 33% risk dementia and 48% are exposed to heart diseases.
To deal with this situation, experts recommend developing the habit of napping. It allows the brain and body to rest appropriately and feel alert after waking up. In addition, creating a routine time for sleeping at night would help improve circadian rhythm.
The job of saving other people’s lives somewhat casts a negative shadow on the staff’s mental health. They have to deal with traumatic events more often than a layman.
Consequently, they develop the symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). In some scenarios, the conditions lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Identifying the signs of poor mental health is the first step that you can take to ensure their well-being. Have you seen a sudden change in the behavior of your staff members? Are they not sleeping and eating well?
Do they feel hesitant to come to work? If yes, you must take appropriate steps to lower your stress levels and boost your mental health.
If it seems necessary, you may even give them some time off to cope with negative thoughts and rejoin the work in better condition.
Last but not least, this service is hazardous and stressful. To cope with it, some people develop the habit of drinking or consuming calming medications.
While such medications are effective, regular use leads to addiction and substance abuse. This not only impacts their quality of life and health but also puts others’ lives in danger.
Therefore, you must conduct regular checkups of staff members to know about their physical and mental condition. If any signs of substance abuse are detected, address the issue immediately.
Of course, none of the methods to deal with the severe impact of substance abuse right away; however, if one stays consistent- the rehab will not be daunting.
To Sum It All Up
Regardless of how hazardous the situation is, firefighters do their best to protect lives and mitigate the damages.
In return, as their company, you should make efforts to ensure that the staff is not overworked, using the right equipment and limiting their exposure to chemicals.
If necessary, you should educate them about their legal right to get economic and non-economic aid.
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