CFFF Courage Vol.14 NA

Vol.14

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A s with many fire departments across Canada, carcinogen exposure has become a topic of interest and has been brought to the forefront through education and research. The National Defence Fire Service (NDFS) has developed and implemented a Carcinogen Exposure Reduction Program for its members. The program's intent is to raise awareness to firefighters and their superiors regarding the inherent risks of the occupation of firefighting, and how to reduce the exposures to potential carcinogens. Through the delivery and implementation of a three pillar program encompassing Prevention, Protection, and Recording, the program was delivered to over 20 military and civilian fire halls across the country during September and October this year. The Prevention aspect, being the first pillar of the program, includes new policy and educational material, paired with training, to raise awareness to the firefighter and their supervisor. The training program consists of a 4hr presentation with accompanying posters and videos designed in a Train the Trainer format. It describes cancer statistics for firefighters, how to reduce carcinogen exposure, on site mitigation procedures with a starter decontamination kit provided, and how to record possible exposures. Training was delivered paired with employing the best practices program where fire halls are responsible to adapt their in-house training programs and operating guidelines to this new material. The Protection pillar provides updated fire ground procedures and modified behaviors, including proper use, care, and main- tenance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including bunker gear. Changes to operating guidelines have included the introduction of equipment including a second set of bunker gear and a decontamination kit used to conduct initial decontamination on scene. The final pillar, Recording, employs improved record keeping when NDFS members are exposed to carcinogens. Improving our accident/exposure reporting system expedites the reports for the benefit of the member, also amending operating guidelines as to when and what type of exposures prompt the occasions for reporting. With instructors reporting the program being well received and procedures being adopted at the task level, the program continues to expand and move forward. Future plans to provide delivery of the program beyond fire halls include safety and health organizations within the Canadian Armed Forces and working with partners including the University of Ottawa and City of Ottawa Fire Department exploring the potential of employing new equipment are a few of the projects that this promising and beneficial program are working on. As the Carcinogen Exposure Reduction Program continues to expand, it will provide the necessary platform of education and policy to keep NDFS employees as safe as possible while performing their duties. 38 NATIONAL DEFENCE FIRE SERVICE CARCINOGEN EXPOSURE REDUCTION PROGRAM

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