Firefighters are exposed to carcinogens such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) during fires and from their personal protective equipment (PPE). Recent research has shown that decontamination processes can reduce contamination on both gear and skin. While firefighter cultures that honor dirty gear are changing, little is known about current attitudes and behaviors toward decontamination in the fire service. Four hundred eighty-five firefighters from four departments completed surveys about their attitudes, beliefs, perceived norms, barriers, and behaviors toward post-fire decontamination processes. Overall, firefighters reported positive attitudes, beliefs, and perceived norms about decontamination, but showering after a fire was the only decontamination process that occurred regularly, with field decontamination, use of cleansing wipes, routine gear cleaning, and other behaviors all occurring less frequently. Firefighters reported time and concerns over wet gear as barriers to decontamination.
- health campaign
- personal protective equipment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health