You walk into a department store and pick up that brightly colored shirt you’ve been looking for all over town. However, on the rack you notice a sign that reads Caution: Clothing Contains Known Carcinogens. Would you still buy the shirt? Would you wear it proudly and post a selfie posing rebelliously by the warning sign? My guess (and hope) is that you are saying no! Yet all too often we don our PPE with all the filth, crud, and grime from previous fires knowing what that dirt represents. We can no longer claim ignorance to the dangers not washing our PPE can bring, and the studies that show an increase in certain cancers when products of combustion are absorbed into our skin.
Benzene, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, and other toxins/carcinogens/pathogens are just a few of the hazards we face when PPE is not properly cared for and cleaned. Is looking “salty” worth an incurable illness later in life?
If you have the facilities to wash your gear – WASH IT! If not for you, then for the family who wants to keep you around a long, long time.
STAY FIRED UP!
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