National Firefighter Health Week: Respond Strong – Put It On
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Proper use of PPE protects you from inhaling potentially dangerous smoke, debris, and toxins, which could cause significant harm to your lungs, respiratory system, and general health. PPE also protects you from absorbing harmful particles and toxins through your skin. Protecting your head with a helmet can prevent injuries that could lead to acute or chronic health conditions. In addition to wearing PPE correctly, make sure the PPE is in good condition and properly maintained.
- Create a culture within your department where proper and full use of PPE is standard and anything less is unacceptable.
- Make sure the leaders of the department lead by example.
- Take responsibility for your health and safety and Respond Strong every time.
- Always keep your PPE on until you are completely out of dangerous or smoky conditions.
- Financial assistance to purchase PPE is available through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
- Adopt the NVFC’s Health and Safety Priorities in your department, and use this day of Health Week to focus on the following B.E.S.T. Practices: “Provide and require the proper use of full personal protective equipment” and “Maintain all equipment based on established safety recommendations.”
- Hold a drill on donning your PPE to make sure everyone knows exactly what needs to happen when the next call comes in.
- Conduct an inspection of all of your station’s equipment and determine which items need to be replaced sooner rather than later. Make a plan for securing the most needed equipment now and develop a schedule for equipment that will need to be replaced in the future.
- Review with all members how to properly maintain, clean, and store each piece of PPE and remind them they need to follow these procedures every time.
- Make sure all of your respirators are clean and in working order.
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