Top Ways Firefighters Can Push Back Against the Use of AFFF in Firefighting
Firefighting is one of the most dangerous professions, and firefighters need all the help they can get. Firefighters are often tasked with attacking fires using AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam), a chemical solution that’s supposed to suppress flames but has been shown to do more harm than good.
While firefighters need access to this technology, it’s also essential to understand when and how best to use it. In this article, we’ll explore some ways firefighters can push back against the use of AFFF in firefighting operations by learning more about the risks associated with its use.
Table of Contents
Expose the Dangers of AFFF
AFFF is a dangerous chemical that can cause cancer, respiratory problems, and skin irritation. It’s not safe for the environment either. When it comes into contact with water or sunlight, it turns into another toxic chemical called PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). According to a study in NCBI, PFOS causes developmental defects in fetuses and infants who come into contact with contaminated water sources.
It’s essential to understand why firefighters need to know about these dangers. They are at risk of being exposed while fighting fires where AFFF has been used. They may also be exposed if they work near airports where planes use AFFF-based firefighting foam as part of their protocol during takeoffs and landings. Or even if they walk past an airport without knowing what chemicals are used there.
Encourage Communities to Ban AFFF
If you want to help fight the use of AFFF in firefighting, one of the best ways is to encourage your community to ban it. Encourage your local government and other officials to educate themselves about the dangers of AFFF and pass laws prohibiting its use. You can also support legislation at the state level that bans or limits the use of AFFF.
And if you’re a firefighter, remember you have power too. There are many ways for firefighters themselves to advocate against using AFFF on fires. These include everything from spreading awareness within their departments and communities through social media campaigns and articles written by firefighters to contacting legislators directly about their concerns with this issue.
Support Legal Action Against the Harmful Effects of AFFF
Firefighters can support legal action against the harmful effects of AFFF. Many firefighters have joined in filing the firefighting foam lawsuit against manufacturers, government agencies, and fire departments using AFFF.
One example is a class action lawsuit in California that claims three companies sold products containing PFOS-based firefighting foam without disclosing its health risks. The lawsuit was filed for all firefighters who participated in training exercises where PFOS foams have been used since 2010, including those who worked at airports or military bases where these products were used regularly.
Support Legislation That Limits the Use of AFFF
The best way to combat the use of AFFF in firefighting is by supporting legislation that limits its use and protects firefighters from exposure to it.
For example, you can support legislation requiring firefighters to wear protective equipment, such as respirators and air tanks, when they enter a building with AFFF. It will prevent them from inhaling toxic fumes and getting sick, which would keep them out of work for extended periods than if they hadn’t been exposed.
You can also support legislation requiring all first responders who come into contact with chemical compounds like PFOS/PFOA to receive training in how these chemicals affect human health. So that they know what symptoms mean something serious might be happening inside their bodies.
Tell Your Fire Department to Stop Spraying AFFF on Fires
Firefighters are at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals, including PFOS and PFOA, during their work. These chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems like cancer, liver damage, and thyroid disorders.
The good news is that there are safer alternatives available today that don’t contain these harmful chemicals! It means you can still put out fires without risking your health and even save some lives.
Firefighters Need to Be Informed About What They Are Spraying Into Burning Buildings and Why
According to Zippia, there are more than 25,813 firefighters in the US. And each one is at significant risk as long as AFFF continues to be in use. As a firefighter, you must know what you spray into burning buildings and why. You should also be informed about the health effects of AFFF on yourself and your crew.
Firefighters need to understand that AFFF is dangerous for them and their families. The chemicals in these foams can cause serious health problems, including respiratory issues, skin rashes, and even cancer later in life.
In addition, firefighters should be aware that AFFFs do not break down quickly after they are released into the environment. They will remain there for decades unless steps are taken to remediate them.
The bottom line is that firefighters must be informed about what they spray into burning buildings and why. The use of AFFF in firefighting has been linked with severe health problems for decades.
Yet, the EPA continues to allow its use without proper safety precautions being taken by fire departments nationwide. We hope this article has given you some ideas on how to push back against this dangerous practice so that someday soon, our brave first responders will no longer have to worry about their safety while trying to save others.
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