When you decided to become a firefighter, you may have done so because of an innate desire to help others. You may not, however, have had a comprehensive understanding of just how dangerous firefighting is. Also, you may not have fully understood all of the work-related hazards you would face in this field.
While you were likely well-aware of the obvious risks related directly to fighting fires, you may have had less of an understanding of the long-term effects associated with making your living in such an environment. Per FireRescue1, safety advocates are becoming increasingly concerned about many of the long-term health hazards associated with fighting fires, and one such concern is the potential for firefighters to develop mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma among firefighters
Research shows that today’s firefighters have a much higher chance of developing career-related mesothelioma than the general population. In fact, firefighters are 14% more likely than the general population to die due to mesothelioma. Additionally, in terms of firefighter deaths that occur outside of the line of duty, an alarming 70% of those deaths result from cancer.
A vicious and deadly disease
Part of the reason that firefighters are at a high risk of asbestos exposure, which may lead to mesothelioma, is because they may work in buildings where the substance was present before laws banned its use. About 3,000 Americans develop mesothelioma each year. After five years, only about 12% of those diagnosed are still living.
Protecting yourself at work
While you may not entirely avoid entering buildings where asbestos is present, you may reduce your chances of developing mesothelioma by always wearing personal protective gear and then cleaning it after use. Avoid keeping your gear near where you sleep, and make sure to thoroughly wash your body as soon as you are able after firefighting.
You make your living by helping others, but you should not have to endanger your own life in the process. Learning how to reduce your risk of mesothelioma is critical for you if you wish to live as long and healthy a life as possible.