Fire Smoke Coalition
August 19, 2013
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports in its Fire Deaths and Injuries Fact Sheet that most victims of fires die from smoke or toxic gases, not from burns. Inhalation injuries are also high, especially among firefighters. Smoke laced with cyanide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other toxins in addition to dust and soot cause a multitude of short-and long-term health problems for firefighters.
The Fire Smoke Coalition is working to educate firefighters, hazmat teams, EMS and hospital personnel, and the military on the dangers of toxic smoke. Detection, proper use of PPE and SCBA, and proper and effective treatment after exposure is vital. The effects of chronic exposure to low levels of toxic smoke is underestimated, and the Coalition is working to change the fire service’s relaxed view of smoke.
Though many of the available resources come only through a paid membership, some resources and information are available free online. In addition, they offer on-site and online “Know Your Smoke: The Dangers of Fire Smoke Exposure” training courses around the country.