Friday, April 19, 2024

New plan to protect NSW firies from dangerous toxins

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has announced it will roll out world-leading new decontamination technology and fire station designs to better protect firefighters from exposure to carcinogens. 

The Clean Firefighter, Clean Appliance and Clean Buildings Plan includes $30 million for new structural protective clothing, a new laundry app to streamline the decontamination process for firefighters’ clothing, and ongoing research into exposure and decontamination education, guidelines and procedures. 

New design guidelines for fire stations will mandate living, transition and working zones, and retrofitting of designated wash areas to control the spread of contaminants. 

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, Steph Cooke said FRNSW was leading the world in providing state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and practices to safeguard firefighters from harmful toxins.  

“There was once a time firefighters considered a uniform covered in ash and soot to be a ‘badge of honour’ but now we have a greater understanding of the risks of carcinogens, it’s important we take steps to safeguard our frontline responders,” Ms Cooke said.  

“This new program is the first of its kind of any fire service in the world and is the culmination of four years of hard work. 

“It’s essential we have these new procedures and resources in place to protect not just our personnel but their families as well.” 

FRNSW Commissioner, Paul Baxter said the Plan helps to understand the risks confronting frontline staff and take appropriate action. 

“Any firefighter will tell you they have known for a long time that they are exposed to a nasty concoction of carcinogenic substances, but as an organisation, we wanted to know what more we could do to reduce those exposure risks,” Commissioner Baxter said. 

“The international research into cancer risks to firefighters continues but in the meantime we have a blueprint to proceed with to protect our people. 

“Together we are transforming the hygiene of our fire stations, uniforms, trucks and importantly how we operate as well. This is resulting in a practical and positive influence on our people’s safety.” 

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