ebola and firefighters

UPDATED EDITORS NOTE: This article was written in 2014 at the height of the Ebola outbreak in Africa, when several cases popped up in the United States. Most medical and first responder agencies quickly realized they were unprepared to address the potential of a disease with the rapid spread and high mortality rate of Ebola.

During the Ebola outbreak of 2014, most medical and first responder agencies reactively scrambled to educate their members about the disease, gather appropriate equipment to safe guard members during potential responses, and set new policies to deal with a potential local outbreak.

The article below is focused on Ebola, specifically from a firefighter/first responder perspective. Even though the Ebola cases in the United States and elsewhere (outside of Africa) were contained, the article will give you a good background into Ebola and first responder agency’s concerns when dealing with it. You are strongly encouraged to read this article, because the information and precautions can be applied to other infectious diseases you will encounter this flu season and beyond.

A new, more general article on infectious diseases is currently being written and will be published soon. Some of the information will overlap, but knowing we will soon be full-swing into flu season, both articles will be worth reviewing and discussing with your crews to keep you and your families safe.

Be prepared, take precautions and stay safe.
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Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis and an illness that has recently been revealed to pose a great threat to members of the fire service. As firefighters we are exposed to significant carcinogenic chemicals and vapors on a daily basis. These exposures are taking their toll.

Recent studies have indicated that firefighters have twice the risk of developing certain cancers when compared to the general population. The statistics are scary, but this information has brought light to the risks and provided direction for preventing and avoiding exposure to dangerous carcinogens.

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Firefighter Physical Ability TestsFirefighting is a very physical job. Fitness is not only a big part of the job, it’s a pass/fail consideration in the hiring phase. The importance of maintaining a healthy, fitness based lifestyle can’t be over emphasized.

Firefighters are physically taxed on a regular basis, and the potential for extreme physical exertion is always present. Modern firefighters are not only expected to be physically ready to respond to any emergency at a moments notice, their very lives may depend on their physical ability.
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