Monday, March 30, 2009

Training Fire-fighters' for decontamination

By Louise Jones

The fear of physical and environmental contaminations happenings has amplified. It's the fire fighting section that gets the first call in case a catastrophe takes place. By tradition, fire-fighters were trained to turn off fires and rescue people. With the threat of contaminations, fire-fighters now are being trained for decontamination procedures too. Nonetheless, not all fire-fighters working in countries around the world are trained in this work. However exceptional units of fire-fighters are given unique training in this field.

The first and most frequent type of pollution that occurs is physical contagion. Industrial units that deal with dangerous substances and corrosive substances have a high possibility of causing physical contagion. Then there are laboratories, gas plants, and other analogous places where physical contagion incidents can occur. In fire-fighter's decontamination training, fire-fighters must be proficient to recognize that physical contagion has taken place.

They are trained to setup mobile sanitization wash areas, and the sufferers are made to take off their infected clothing, take a shower, and are given unsullied robes to be dressed in. If the sanitization shower units get late in coming, the fire fighters may hose down the sufferers. They are trained to turn the force down of the hose pipes, make the sufferers undress and hose them down.

There are so many types of environmental contaminations that can take place and fire-fighters cannot be trained to handle all of them. When a fire fighting station gets a call of an incident of contamination, there immediate response is to get the decontamination unit in to position. The fire-fighters of decontamination units wear special clothing along with gas marks and other protective gear. They cordon of the area, search for any victims of contaminations, and remove them. They then proceed to locate and shutdown the cause of contamination.

After controlling the cause of contamination, they collect samples of contaminated material which is sent for laboratory tests. After which the method required for decontamination is implemented.

Keeping in view the multiplicity of pollution that may come about; fire-fighters who are trained in decontamination merely demarcate the contaminated vicinity and cordon it. Pollution can either be natural, radiological, or chemical, and can affect water, air, food, etc. In parts where there is a likelihood of episode of pollution, there are hygienic rooms, security showers, eyewashes, and other sanitization tools installed. Local laws are enacted and enforced to guarantee that safety principles are adhered to.

Fire-fighters educated in sanitization obtain focused training and are equipped differently from the customary fire-fighters. They make the second line of defence, since the former are the regular fire-fighters. Usually a fire engine will get to the site and send a report in case pollution is suspected. This stimulates the decontamination unit to get into movement. It is then there job to take care of the decontamination.

Fire-fighters who are educated in decontamination do not live in all the fire stations in a town or city. There could be a unit of fire-fighters taught in decontamination that is sited at single location. This unit has workforce and special paraphernalia for taking care of pollution and retort when there is suspected pollution. More and more city and town councils are now making fire-fighters educated in cleansing seeing that they have accepted this as an impending peril.

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