Health & Safety

Will Hazmat Teams be Affected by EPA ‘Forever Chemical’ Rule Changes?

In late August, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a preliminary document, which indicated the agency wants to classify “forever chemicals” as hazardous substances. These perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are part of EPA’s overall effort to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — known as PFAS. EPA says PFOAs and PFOSs are two of the …

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The Man Who Saw Too Much

Aspen’s Michael Ferrara is bringing attention to a little-known problem: post-traumatic stress disorder among the people who save our lives. Looking back over his nearly 30 years as a highly decorated first responder in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, Michael Ferrara has trouble pinpointing the exact moment when his life began to unravel. His ordeal arrived …

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The Benefits and Importance of Diversity in the Fire Service

Demographically speaking, our nation’s fire departments are not diverse. Consider the following workforce statistics from 2019 reported by Data USA: 95.8% of firefighters were male. 79.9% of firefighters were white and non-Hispanic. Many communities have started improving their efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce. For these programs to succeed, it’s important to recognize two …

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Worried about retention? Invest in the fire family

If there’s one thing Dr. Rachelle Zemlok wanted fire service leaders to take away from her keynote speech during FRI 2022, it was this: Firefighter mental health and retention starts at home. Dr. Zemlok, a clinical psychologist and director of wellness at Lexipol, works with firefighter spouses to provide mental health support for the issues …

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Improving fire department communications

Fire departments face unique challenges when it comes to their internal communications. With personnel scattered between stations and shifts, it can be difficult to get the same message out to every staff member. Firefighters can feel siloed from the wider organization, only communicating with those on their same shift. Down the line, this can lead …

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Professional Development: Tips on How to Get Your Program Started

To be a student of the job means you chase unfamiliar factors tirelessly until you find a solution or answer. Seeking the answer on how to start and manage a Professional Development Program became my newfound passion in the fire service. The development and implementation of this program began as a priority for McHenry Township …

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