Fort Pierre Fire conducted upholstery cleaning of one of our engines, as well as our ladder truck recently. This is in hopes of reducing the risk of spreading cancer causing particulates, as well as to hopefully make the seats last longer. In the picture, the bottle on the left is a sample of what came out of the seats of the engine with one cleaning. The middle bottle is after one cleaning on the ladder seats. The right bottle is after a 2nd cleaning on the ladder.
This is just a reminder to all departments that especially have cloth seats, that you might consider cleaning your cab seats regularly Remember, we as firefighters aren’t the only ones to sit on these same seats - as with every department out there. Who doesn’t bring your kids to the fire hall and give them a ride on the truck? Who doesn’t load up a bunch of kids and people in the truck to go through the local 4th of July parade?
We all need to do better at reducing the cancer risk for not only ourselves, but for our families and friends that we bring into the trucks from time to time. If nothing else, it makes the trucks cleaner & look better in general.
Some departments in the state do not allow bunker gear in the cab after a structure fire...this certainly might be something to think about.
Same goes with bunker gear - wash it regularly!! The “cool” thing years ago was to never wash your gear - the dirtier the better....but that way of thinking needs to change. Wash your gear; wash your hood and keep your truck cabs clean.
Oh, and one last opinion, we all love seeing pictures of the new baby taken laying on your bunker gear. Please make sure that gear has been cleaned a time or two prior to laying a baby on them. Remember, that baby can absorb just as much cancer causing particulates as the firefighter that puts on that gear. We all just need to do a better job at reducing cancer risks.
Lastly, one way to make a young firefighter become an old firefighter is to become more cognizant and do a better job at cancer reduction.
Cancer Reduction Round 2
In a second round of firefighter cancer reduction (round 1 was cleaning our truck seats), our department conducted a thorough cleaning of all 25 of our SCBA face pieces and netting. Each facepiece was submerged in a bucket of mild cleaning solution and water and vigorously agitated by hand, then submerged in a second bucket of just water and agitated vigorously again. All were then laid out on a table to dry before putting them back on the trucks. The bottle on the left in this picture is from the first bucket, and the bottle on the right was from the second bucket.
The last time these face pieces were cleaned in this vigorous fashion was around mid-2017. I will be working with our department to try to implement a more comprehensive cleaning policy for facepieces after we use them at fire calls, as well as a policy of regularly cleaning truck cabs and regular cleaning of bunker gear and hoods.
I believe any attempt at reducing the cancer exposure risk for firefighters is a must with any department - big or small.
While my department is aimed in the right direction to cancer reduction, we have a ways to go...but at least we’re trying to protect those that protect the public.