fire investigator and cancer _2_ by huanghengdong


									                              Vancouver         Fire                            Fire investigators are          effects to firefighters. This, of course, applies to
                              Investigators      are                            often in the structure          fire investigators who spend more time in
                              sworn          limited                            before the fire is out,         overhaul or post-fire environment compared to
                              commission officers                               before    and    during         line firefighters.”
and members of the International Association of        overhaul. They are exposed to many of the same           Fire investigators routinely dig though fire debris
Fire Fighters Local 452. However, they do not          hazards as firefighters but when it comes to the         for evidence, exposing themselves to substances
have the benefits of presumptive disease               amount and length of exposure to carcinogens             which may sicken them years later.
legislation that firefighters currently have. They     and other hazards, they are at much greater risk.
are currently in PERS and therefore must work to
age 65 compared to LEOFF retirees who may              HYBRID DUTIES
retire in their 50’s because of hazards, stress and    Fire investigators share some of the same risks
shorter life expectancies.                             as both firefighters and law enforcement. Yet for
                                                       the purposes of retirement systems, and
EXPOSURES                                              presumptive disease they are considered
Both Firefighters and Fire Investigators are           neither. So if firefighters have 100% higher risk to
exposed to toxic compounds and gasses                  exposures then the general public, it would
including at least 20 documented carcinogenic          stand to reason fire investigators will be in the
(cancer causing) elements. Research has found          same higher risk for these toxins, because of
that firefighters have 100% higher risk of             their job duties.
testicular cancer and a 50% higher risk of multiple
melanoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.                   WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Prostate cancer a 28% increased risk compared          Cancer:
with the general population.                           In 1997, NIOSH initiated a study due to the fact         POLYCYCLIC AEROMATIC HYDROCARBONS
                                                       that two ATF fire investigators in their 30’s had        (PAH)
FIREFIGHTERS                                           contracted bladder cancer. They determined that          The American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Firefighters go in to a structure with protective      their fire investigators were at risk. ATF               reports that a known carcinogen found in fire
gear & breathing apparatus. They work in teams         implemented a respiratory protection program             debris, is PAH. It states that absorption via the
under the incident command system. They                for its fire investigators in 1999 as a result of this   skin is the primary route of PAH uptake. “The
ensure the fire is extinguished and get back in        study. While the City of Vancouver also                  skin is therefore as or more important than the
service as soon as possible. Not every firefighter     subsequently initiated a respiratory protection          airways in absorption of PAH. PAH has been
responds to every fire. Some will go weeks or          program for fire investigation, the risk cannot be       linked to testicular, lung, breast, skin, bladder,
months and not see a fire scene. They certainly        fully eliminated.                                        prostate and other cancers.
are exposed to multiple hazards during this
dangerous work.                                        PHOENIX STUDY
                                                       The City of Phoenix published a study of 26 fires
FIRE INVESTIGATORS                                     for post fire contaminates and found chemicals
Fire investigators are in many more fire scenes        exceeding the occupational exposure limits.
than a firefighter simply because of the               These included acrolein, formaldehydes,
specialized    service    they    provide.    Fire     glutaraldhydes, benzenes, NO2, SO2, CO &
investigators typically spend significant time on      polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
scene. The exposure to hazardous chemicals,            “The chemicals found to exceed occupational
dust and structural dangers are frequently             exposure limits in the Phoenix study
prolonged by several hours or even several days.       demonstrate the potential of adverse health
                                                                          Page 1 of 6
Structural Collapse:                                                                                           Why Vancouver Deputy Fire Marshal’s not
Nov 21, 2005 ... On January 19, 1999, a New York,                                                              covered by LEOFF or presumptive disease
43-year-old male career fire investigator died                                                                 legislation?
after being crushed by a chimney that collapsed.                                                               The bottom line is, DFM’s were required to take
                                                       Chemicals:                                              a civil service test but the test was not specific to
                                                       Inhalation – gases and airborne particulates can        the job as firefighter.
                                                       be inhaled.                                   
                                                       Absorption – chemicals, including dust, smoke or        ff/plan-2/leoff2hbk.pdf page #4
                                                       vapors, can enter your body through your skin or
                                                       eyes.                                                   See how the job description mirror’s what a
                                                       Ingestion – chemicals can enter your body               Vancouver’s Deputy Fire Marshal does.
Falls:                                                 through your mouth.                                     http://citynet/fire/admin/jobdescriptions.asp
On July, 18, 2000, two Illinois, arson investigators   Injection – chemicals can enter your body
were dispatched to the scene to conduct an             through an accidental impact, cut or puncture to        WHAT CHANGE IS NEEDED?
"origin-and-cause" fire investigation. During this     your skin.                                              Fire investigators should be a part of the same
investigation, Arson Investigator #1 (the victim)                                                              presumptive disease legislation that firefighters
lost his balance and fell, pinning his camera          Asbestos Mesothelioma:                                  have due to the increased risk of cancer and
between the left side of his chest and a bed           In the United States, over 35 million residences        other illnesses. And have the same protection of
frame/slats... ultimately the injuries he sustained    harbor asbestos-containing materials that have          retirement’s benefits because of hazards, stress
led to his death on August 9, 2000.                    the potential to release toxic fibers into the air if   and shorter life expectancies.
                                                       they are damaged by a fire. This is a serious
Responding to Fires:                                   heath risk for homeowners, firefighters and
Dec 9, 2009 HOUSTON (KTRK) – “One arson                other first responders, as asbestos exposure is         QUESTIONS?
investigator did not make the scene of a morning       the only known cause of pleural mesothelioma, a         Contact Dan McCoy, Deputy Fire Marshal – City
fire in the Heights. That's because the                fatal type of cancer that attacks the lungs and         of Vancouver (360) 487-7217.
investigator is in the hospital. The arson unit was    does not have a cure. Asbestos fibers are friable
on the way to the fire when it collided with           and can lodge in your protective gear or on your
another car on 11th and North Durham.”                 equipment during fire investigation only to
                                                       become airborne again while doffing the gear or
Criminals:                                             stowing it in your vehicle. The time between
Fires are sometimes crime scenes                       exposure and the appearance of symptoms can
Jun 30, 2008, CHICAGO — Donald Cox was                 be as long as 20 to 50 years.
investigating the apparent firebombing of a
southeast side home Sunday when he was struck          Exhaustion:
by a bullet below his left ribs…Arson                  Fire investigators get calls at all hours to rush to
investigators usually work by themselves, but in       a fire incident and conduct physically exhausting
the future, "There's going to be two arson             work similar to firefighters who have an
investigators per car,'' Orozco said.                  increased risk of heart attack.

March 17, 2010 HENRY COUNT, Ga                  Fire
Investigation Turns Into Police Shootout.

                                                                          Page 2 of 6
LEOFF’s definition of a Fire fighters                    university or port district are also included.
A “fire fighter” is someone employed in a                Directors of public safety and public safety officers
uniformed fire fighter position on a fulltime, fully     may qualify if they are employed by cities or towns
compensated basis, and as a consequence, has the         with populations less than 10,000.
legal authority and responsibility to direct or
perform fire protection activities that are required     City police are considered law enforcement
for and directly concerned with preventing,              officers only if they have been appointed to offices,
controlling and extinguishing fires. This includes       positions, or ranks specifically created and
supervisory fire fighter personnel.                      designated by city charter provision or by
“Fire protection activities” may include incidental      ordinance.
functions such as housekeeping, equipment                The following positions are excluded:
maintenance, grounds maintenance, fire safety
inspections, lecturing, performing community fire         • non-commissioned people in positions that are
drills and inspecting homes and schools for fire              primarily clerical or secretarial
hazards. These activities qualify as fire protection      • deputy sheriffs who have not passed a civil
activities only if the primary duty of the position is        service exam for deputy sheriff
preventing, controlling and extinguishing fires.         • directors of public safety or public safety officers
The following positions are excluded:                    in cities or towns with populations of less than
• fire fighters who have not completed a civil           10,000, if they were receiving a LEOFF retirement
service exam for fire fighter if the employer            allowance on July 25, 1993
requires it
• volunteer or resident volunteer fire fighters

LEOFF -covered employers
A “covered employer” is any of the following if
they employ any law enforcement officer and/or
fire fighter:
• the authority of any city, town, county or district
• elected officials of any municipal corporation
• the governing body of any other general authority
law enforcement agency
• four year institutions of higher education with a
fully operational fire department (as of January 1,
1996) Updated March 2006

Law enforcement officers
A “law enforcement officer” is someone who is
fully commissioned and empowered to enforce the
laws of the state of Washington, including full
arrest powers, and employed by a LEOFF
employer. LEOFF-covered positions include
county sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, police chiefs, city
police officers, town marshals or deputy marshals.
Effective January 1, 1994, general authority law
enforcement officers employed by a state
                                                                            Page 3 of 6
VANCOUVER     FIRE   DEPARTMENT’S    JOB               Receive and investigate complaints regarding fire      Knowledge of:
DESCRIPTION OF A DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL                   violations; recommend corrective actions and
                                                       enforce compliance.                                    Fire hazards and the related prevention and
DEFINITION                                                                                                    abatement methods.
                                                       Investigate fires to determine causes and damages;
To perform a variety of fire prevention and            keep records of fire losses, investigations, fire      Principles of fire prevention and safety
inspection work including fire code enforcement and    deaths and injuries; collect, photograph and           education, including effective teaching and
fire safety education program administration; act as   maintain evidence; prepare detailed reports            presentation techniques.
Public Information Officer as assigned.                documenting investigation findings.
                                                                                                              Fire prevention inspection methods and
                                                       Respond to requests and inquiries from the fire        techniques.
SUPERVISION RECEIVED AND EXERCISED                     suppression personnel, general public, contractors,
                                                       architects, and media relations regarding fire and     Fire fighting techniques, incident command
Receive general supervision from a division chief.     life safety codes and standards.                       system, and fire suppression equipment.
                                                                                                              Principles of fire behavior.
                                                       Assume duties of Public Information Officers at
ESSENTIAL AND OTHER FUNCTION                           emergency incidents under the Incident Command         Techniques of fire and arson investigation.
STATEMENTS--Essential and other important              System; act as liaison with the news media;
responsibilities and duties may include, but are not   perform public relations activities such as            Laws and ordinances pertaining to fire
limited to, the following:                             coordinating press conferences, preparing news         prevention, the Uniform Fire Code, and the
                                                       releases, and preparing audio visual materials.        Uniform Building Code.
Examples of Essential Functions:
                                                                                                              Safe work practices and procedures.
Participate in the coordination of the Fire            Examples of Other Functions:
Suppression Division's fire safety education                                                                  Public relations as they relate to obtaining
activities; provide training on fire and safety        Serve as an expert witness testifying in court cases   cooperation and compliance to fire codes
programs, fire and life safety codes, and inspection   involving fire and code violations.                    and laws.
                                                       Maintain a variety of records, files and maps          Computers and software application
Participate in the development and delivering fire     related to fire prevention and safety activities and   programs.
safety and prevention educational programs to          programs.
local schools, community groups, and members of                                                               Ability to:
the general public.                                    Conduct inspections for business license
                                                       compliance.                                            Conduct fire inspection and code
Conduct annual inspections for existing buildings                                                             enforcement work.
and fire code permits inspections of buildings and     Enter a variety of information into a computer.
property for fire hazards, efficiency of fire                                                                 Respond to inquiries, complaints and
protective equipment, adequacy of fire exits, and      Ensure various equipment used in performing            requests for service in a fair, tactful and firm
general compliance with fire prevention laws and       duties is properly maintained.                         manner.
                                                       Perform related duties and responsibilities as         Speak publicly and give presentations.
Advise property owners on the removal of fire          required.
hazards; enforce compliance to correct hazards.                                                               Deal effectively with property owners,
                                                                                                              managers and the general public in difficult
                                                       QUALIFICATIONS                                         work situations.

                                                                           Page 4 of 6
        Detect fire hazards and make
        recommendations for their correction.                          Training:

        Give instructions on ways to prevent and                       Equivalent to the completion of the
        eliminate fire hazards.                                        twelfth grade supplemented by
                                                                       specialized training in fire science,
        Conduct preliminary fact-finding inspections                   fire prevention, fire investigation, or
        and investigations, including evidence                         a related field.
                                                               License or Certificate
        Properly interpret and make decisions in
        accordance with laws, regulations and                  Possession of an appropriate valid driver's
        policies.                                              license.

        Observe and record findings during                     Meet NFPA 1031, step III, standard for Fire
        inspections.                                           Prevention as defined in the Senior Fire
                                                               Prevention Officer step program.
        Communicate clearly and concisely, both
        orally and in writing; communicate with the            Meet NFPA 1033, step III, standard for Fire
        general public and the news media in such a            Investigator Prevention as defined in the
        way as to be easily understandable to them.            Senior Fire Prevention Officer step program.

        Establish and maintain cooperative working             Meet NFPA 1035, step I, standard for Fire
        relationships with those contacted in the              Public Educator as defined in the Senior Fire
        course of work, and perform work with a                Prevention Officer step program.
        customer service orientation.
                                                               Possession of a Uniform Fire Code
        Perform basic mathematical calculations and            Certification from the International Fire
read blueprints or building plans.                             Code Institute.

       Handle many different tasks in a short
amount of time.                                        WORKING CONDITIONS

                                                       Travel from site to site in residential or commercial
        Experience and Training Guidelines             environment; conduct inspections in potentially
        Any combination of experience and training     hazardous buildings and at fire sites; may be on-call
        that would likely provide the required         24 hours per day for emergencies, investigations, and
        knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A       inspections; frequent evening work to attend various
        typical way to obtain the knowledge and        meetings; considerable amount of driving is required.
        abilities would be:


                Five years experience as a deputy      Est. 1990
                fire marshal at the city of            Rev. 6/98 dw
                                                                          Page 5 of 6
Contacts: Ron Myers presumptive disease lawyer
in Seattle 360.459.5600 who was active in the
legislation process to get it passed

Keven Rojecki: Tacoma city counsel position # 6

Look for any training that is liken:
   -    part of EVAP
   -    part of respiratory training
   -    Adventist wellness testing
   -    Federal money for In the line of duty

get copy of firefighter’s presumptive disease law
then mirror for DFM

                                                    Page 6 of 6

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