What does the smoke from a fire and a cabinet full of chemicals have in common? They often contain the same dangerous materials.
During a fire, firefighters must brave not only flames, but a slew of other hazards as well: gas, smoke, heat, blood, body fluids, toxins, contaminants… Fortunately, these risks are reduced by wearing protective clothing, which serves as a thermal and physical barrier. That being said, this protection is certainly not perfect – especially in today’s world, where buildings tend to be larger and contain far more combustible materials, which in turn produce fires that emit highly toxic smoke. In other words, today’s fires are much more dangerous to firefighters than those of our grandparents’ time.
Studies show that firefighters are more likely to develop cancer than the general population.