What does the NFPA 1851 2020 Edition mean for Texas Firefighters?

The current National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1851 standard contains requirements for gear cleaning and maintenance that affect firefighters across the United States. These updates intend to reduce the risk of exposure to carcinogens and other contaminants that may be present on gear and equipment. Understanding how these changes affect firefighters and what new cleaning steps are required is critical for compliance.

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Cleaning vs. Advanced Cleaning According to NFPA 1851 Standards

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1851 is the standard used for the selection, care, and maintenance of firefighting gear. The intent behind the standard is to reduce the risk of exposure to fireground contaminants. As such, the document provides requirements and recommended procedures for cleaning gear. Understanding the terminology in the standard and the cleaning recommendations for different types of exposure is critical for compliance.

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Why You Need a Mobile Extraction Unit® for Turnout Gear Decontamination

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What You Need to Know About the NFPA 1851 Standard

There are many moving parts in a firefighter’s work, so the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has created an extensive list of standards to ensure a consistent approach based on proven best practices. The NFPA is a global, self-funded nonprofit organization created in 1896 to address fire hazards and reduce the risk of death, injury, property damage, and economic loss. In addition to creating codes and standards, the organization also provides training, education, outreach, research, and advocacy. 

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How to Combat Firefighter Cancer by Following Proper Gear Cleaning Solutions

The health risks to firefighters extend well beyond the immediate threats of flames, heat, and smoke. The fact is that toxic chemicals remain on turnout gear long after leaving the fireground, potentially resulting in long-term health effects, such as firefighter cancer and other chronic issues. Carcinogens on firefighter gear can also transfer to other areas, potentially contaminating vehicles, lockers, clothing, and personal effects. By using proper firefighter gear cleaning solutions, teams can reduce exposure to harmful carcinogens. 

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6 Common (And Dangerous) Mistakes in Firefighter Decontamination

Once the imminent danger of an active fire has passed, firefighters are still at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals at the fireground. Building materials, furnishings, and other items can produce toxic chemicals when burned, leaving carcinogenic residue, and other harmful byproducts, on the surrounding surfaces. If not properly decontaminated, firefighter turnout gear can present an ongoing hazard to anybody who comes into contact with it. 

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Q&A with the Suffolk County Fire Academy Chief

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4 Steps to Ensure Safe Firefighter Decontamination After a Fire

Firefighters encounter many known and obvious health risks—smoke inhalation, burns, and so on—but they also face an invisible threat. Exposure to carcinogens at the fireground is a serious health risk that is only recently being addressed in the industry. The results of a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study that linked firefighting with higher risk of cancer have sparked much-needed discussion of this issue. 

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This Year’s Top Trends in Firefighter Turnout Gear



Firefighters rely on turnout gear to protect them from heat, smoke, flames, and other potential hazards, including toxic chemicals. Turnout gear—which is essentially all of the PPE worn to a fire scene—includes helmets, gloves, pants, jackets, boots, and any clothing worn underneath. Turnout gear has evolved over the years as the role of firefighters continues to expand and new information has been uncovered through research. Technological developments in materials also contribute to new trends in fire turnout gear. Whatever the kit includes, when it’s exposed to the fireground, it is potentially contaminated and should be treated before returning to the station. 

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Q&A with Emergency Decon Services

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