Every fire contains a mixture of toxic chemicals and research suggests that UK firefighters are more likely to develop cancer and other illnesses than the general population.
We already know that the nature of firefighting puts firefighters at risk, so one of the first things we are looking at is current methods of decontaminating, cleaning, storing, maintaining and transporting PPE and other equipment.
The FBU and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) ran a major survey of 10,000 firefighters as part of a ground-breaking 3-year research project into firefighting and toxic contaminants, co-funded by UCLan and the Firefighters 100 Lottery.
There’s a lot more to do to prove the link between firefighting and cancers, but right now you can help fund this important work by playing the Firefighters 100 Lottery.
The results of the survey, which has now closed, are currently being analysed. They will help us understand how firefighters encounter contaminants and how they use personal protective equipment (PPE). Responses will help to prepare a best practice document to help minimise contamination.
A team from UCLan has been visiting fire stations and training centres across the country testing for toxic contaminants in the workplace.
With your help, we can improve firefighter safety and, ultimately, save lives.