When considering the possible dangers a firefighter might face, asbestos exposure is not likely to be the first hazard that comes to mind. However, these emergency services operatives are employed in one of the professions deemed to be at high risk of exposure.
Contact with asbestos
Whilst a firefighter's primary task is to put out fires, there are of course many other situations in which firefighting services could be called upon for assistance; road traffic accidents, as well as environmental disasters, are just two examples. These scenarios all present certain risks, some unique to the situation.
Firefighters are most at risk of asbestos exposure when tending to a fire or structural collapse as it is at these times that harmful asbestos dust may become airborne.
If a building catches fire there will be little time to assess the asbestos risk of the structure before emergency services enter the scene. So how can firefighters protect themselves?
The breathing apparatus known as an SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) allows firefighters to enter smoke-filled environments without damaging their lungs. This piece of equipment allows individuals to breathe freely and can protect against any harmful asbestos fibres which may have been released during a fire or building collapse.
When asbestos exposure could be a risk firefighters should continue to wear this apparatus while on site, even after the flames have died down and smoke has cleared, as asbestos fibres cling and continue to disperse after the fire has receded.
It is at this stage that accidental exposure is a concern.
Mesothelioma, the incurable cancer caused almost exclusively by asbestos, often develops long after initial exposure. Determining when and where a firefighter may have come into contact with asbestos is difficult due to the nature of the job - working in different locations on a regular basis.
For anybody who works in multiple locations as part of their employment, the Asbestos Claim Centre is well-equipped to assist. For those claiming compensation for mesothelioma in a case where their employer has ceased trading, we have the expert means to track down liability insurers. As experts in our field we provide clients with first-class, unbeatable legal services and support.
If you are a retired firefighter living with mesothelioma, and feel you may have come into contact with asbestos as a result of your occupation, you may be entitled to compensation.
Call us today on 0800 508 8747 to discuss your claim further.