How Can We Protect Our Firefighters?
Australia is on fire and it's burning our soul. We have lost our native Flora and Fauna, our farms, our homes, our friends and family. Australia is resilient and like the true Aussie spirit, we are donating and banding together. Fire fighters are being delivered drinks, food and medical supplies. What happens when the fire stops and the media moves to other topics of coverage. The impact of these fires goes beyond the heat of the flames for these firefighters.
It is in their blood to help others and save lives, homes and wildlife. We need to start thinking about their health and wellbeing.
Firefighters are at increased risk of cancer. Fires release carcinogenic toxins including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are absorbed by fire fighters from inhalation and through their skin. How can we protect our heroes from exposure to dangerous carcinogens?
Toxin Exposure From Fighting Fires
Aside from the line of duty, cancer is the leading cause of death according to the International Association of Firefighters. It is believed that toxins have a cumulative effect and increasing concentration contribute to the high rates of cancer.
A firefighter is essentially a human sponge for soaking up all the toxins released from burning plastics and fire retardants that are in our every day belongings. The fire fighters skin absorption rate is believed to increase by 400% for every 3 degrees that the body temperature rises!
How We Can Promote Their Health And Wellness?
The impact of these toxins is widely recognised and in the USA. To protect their heroes, some USA fire departments have introduced a post fire recovery regime using an infrared sauna session.
The University of Arizona is currently completing a clinical trial to investigate the impact of the sweaty session to determine if post-fire firefighter rehabilitation in an infrared sauna: a) affects absorption of PAHs as measured by urinary metabolites; and b) changes core body temperature and heart rate.
What Is An Infrared Sauna?
Infrared saunas use infrared light to warm the body from the inside rather than the air around you like traditional saunas. The infrared light is absorbed by our body’s cells to produce a range of health benefits including detoxification. There are different types of infrared saunas. Those with the most health benefits are full spectrum infrared saunas which produce near, mid and far infrared rays.
When Should A Firefighter Have Infrared Sauna?
According to research, sweating is an effective modality for the body to excrete unwanted chemicals and detox itself. This includes toxins such as asbestos, lead, flame retardants and PAH's. An infrared sauna session is recommended to be completed after fighting each fire for a minimum of 30minutes.