Firefighters push for rules changes to fight against ‘forever chemicals’

The National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee met to discuss the urgent need to revise regulations when it comes to firefighter turnout gear.

Carcinogens and toxins that are found in gear after fires have been linked to cancer, the leading cause of firefighter death.

The International Association of Firefighters has retained three top firms to change regulatory standards, demanding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) free gear, and seek compensations for victims of cancer.

Gulfport fire stations would love to see PFAS rule changes, but in the meantime, they go to extreme measures to make sure their workers are safe by having a specific cleaning system. Gulfport Battalion Chief Chad Bryant said, “We immediately get the fireman out of turnout gear and it goes to our lobby center. We get them in some clean gear right away. We don’t even like it getting it in our cab or fire trucks. We try to do a clean cab policy where we put it in plastic bags and put it in equipment carrier to get it here to where we don’t touch it hardly at all.”

Turnout gear is always inspected and shipped back to manufacturers for replacement if they are not suitable for a fire.

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