Local firefighters working together to prevent carcinogens

By  | 

ORRINGTON, Maine (WABI) - Several local fire departments met for a training session in Orrington to help keep their crews safe from chemicals that potentially cause cancer.

"The materials and carcinogens that we're exposed to today, if we don't take these steps seriously, we can bring it home," said Lt. Erik Tourtillotte of the Brewer Fire Department

"Firefighter 'decon' and firefighter cancer rates throughout the country are just completely through the roof so within this region, we've just kind of taken some steps to assist our firefighters in remaining safe long after the tones have gone off, long after they've returned to their families," said Assistant Fire Chief Chad Bean of the Orrington Fire Department.

Decontaminating equipment may seem like a simple solution, but doing it the proper way can go a long way in the health of a firefighter.

"It's simple as just setting up a small decontamination area coming out, doing a brush to 'decon' each other and then when you're finished, take a hose and rinse each other off," said Bean.

Orrington crews demonstrated the process for fire chiefs who can take the information back to their towns.

“There's a lot of little things that go into it that you don't always think about,” said Tourtillotte. “They've put the research into it and they've learned those little things and its valuable information for all of us.”

It's not uncommon for local fire departments in this area to work together in training scenarios. They say it's one of the best ways to keep their communities and their crews safe.

“We're all here to do one job, we're here to protect the communities,” said Bean. “It doesn't matter if it's my community or your community, we're here to just help each other.”

Tourtillotte said "we all need to be on the same page and by training together and working together, that's how we accomplish that."