(November 28, 2016) - Firefighting hoods are an essential component of a firefighter’s turnout gear, used to protect their skin from the harsh and dangerous elements they are exposed to in a fire. The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) recently transitioned from traditional firefighting hoods to particle filtering hoods (Halo brand) designed to protect a firefighter’s most sensitive skin areas from exposure to fine particulate matter.
Protective hoods are the most vulnerable area of a firefighter's ensemble. Traditional firefighting hoods lack any type of barrier characteristics to keep out the superfine particles that absorb a variety of hazardous chemicals, including carcinogens.
The switch to particle filtering hoods by the Lakeland Fire Department comes at very appropriate time with a recent multi-year study of 30,000 firefighters, published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), finding that firefighters are significantly more prone to suffer from cancer than the general U.S. population. Firefighters not only run a higher risk of getting cancer but also of dying from cancer. NIOSH studies and other research shows this increase is likely due to carcinogen buildup on firefighters' skin, particularly on the neck and face areas which offer much faster absorption of these hazardous chemicals into the body.
LFD transitioning to these new protective hoods is significant in that it is one of the first fire departments in Florida to do so, and certainly the first in central Florida. The Lakeland Fire Department recognizes that its people are its most important assets and that they need to be protected. Assistant Chief of Operations Doug Riley shares “The work our firefighters do is already inherently dangerous with exposure to many different hazards both during and after an event. These new barrier hoods are an important way we can protect our firefighters who risk all to protect others.”
The new hoods do come at a slight price increase from the previous firefighting hoods, and are approximately 30% more expensive, however it is a small price to pay for the safety of firefighters.
Dangerous carcinogen exposure is more of an issue now than ever. Modern homes full of synthetic furnishings burn faster, hotter, and with more carcinogen laden smoke than did legacy homes of the past filled with wood and cotton furnishings.
Janel Vasallo, Public Relations and Information Manager | Lakeland Fire Department
863/834-8219 | firstname.lastname@example.org