The above link will take you to the “Respiratory Disease and the Fire Service” document issued by the IAFF, and USFA. It is a completely comprehensive document explaining everything from how the respiratory system and its various components work, to talking about various diseases.
They maintain in the report that while medical treatment has improved, and diagnostic tests detect these problems earlier than ever before, PREVENTION is still the best way to avoid these diseases.
The document is long, and very heavy on medical terminology even just reading through a few chapters I have learned some valuable information.
Bottom line at the end of the day respiratory disease in the fire service is a very real thing, and only secondary to heart disease. We do have control over a lot of the factors that contribute to both and need to be as diligent in the protection of ourselves as we are to the public we serve.
So make sure we are wearing our SCBA MASK ON AIR at every fire even the little ones, the document states that a lot of these diseases are a result of a career of taking in smoke, even taking in a little is harmful. Make sure you maintain respiratory protection during overhaul phases of the fire as some materials can still be off gassing. Perform atmospheric monitoring at every fire throughout the overhaul process. Get a yearly physical. Get your face piece fit tested yearly and inspect your face piece every shift. Lastly get in the gym, make your self as healthy as possible in order to combat these diseases.
Stay safe out there everyone, and if you have any comments please leave them in the comment section or drop us a line, and as usual spread the word about the blog!