When firefighters suit up, there are many layers involved. One of the first layers is a protective hood, and it’s getting an upgrade at Bainbridge Public Safety.
Officers will be exchanging their existing hoods for the new Cobra BarriAire Complete Particulate Coverage Hoods in hopes that their skin will be better protected from dangerous particulates, especially around the head, neck, and throat.
Fire Chief Doyle Welch stated that these new hoods have a material in them to assist in blocking particulates that have been associated with causing cancer, blocking up to 90% of particles and between 0.1 and 1.0 microns in size.
“The hood has additional material lining on the inside. It’s a different material than what was in the old hoods,” Chief Welch said. “Toxins come from the plastics and the materials that burn in the structure fire, even after it has been extinguished. Those toxins stick to our skin if we’re not properly covered, and can be absorbed through our skin.”
Welch also said that he stresses to the firefighters the importance of keeping their gear clean, and removing as much soot as possible from the head, neck, and throat areas even while still at a scene and immediately after fighting a fire.
“We try to do what we can to reduce hazards so we can have happy, healthy firefighters that can go home to their families every night,” he said. “It’s nice to have this equipment…it makes us feel safer. If we can reduce the carcinogens getting to the skin, then the hope is that we will reduce the chances of cancer.”
Welch said the hoods, which cost around $100 each, should last about ten years which is about three times longer than their previous hoods. “The Public Safety Department takes every measure to ensure the protection of our firefighters and ensure a safe work environment, and part of that is done by giving them the best gear we can,” stated Welch.