Firefighters regularly face many hazardous situations including blazing fires, excessive heat, smoke inhalation and dangerous rescues. Although a firefighter may be prepared for the associated perils that are part of the job of fighting fires, there is another hidden danger. Firefighters are at a great risk of asbestos exposure as a result of their duty of saving lives.
Asbestos was commonly used in building materials prior to 1980 before its toxicity was an accepted fact. Asbestos exposure can occur when firefighters respond to a call in an older home containing asbestos. Once a firefighter extinguishes a fire, they will normally remove their protective breathing mask. If the building site contains any asbestos, the fibers can breakdown, become airborne and remain on surfaces and clothing. Once inhaled, the toxic material can become lodged in a firefighter’s lungs.
Sites of explosions and building collapses are particularly hazardous. A recent study of New York City firefighters who responded to Ground Zero when terrorists attacked Manhattan on 9/11 were found to have an astounding amount of lung scarring. Toxic asbestos fibers and other carcinogens became airborne and became a deadly dust cloud as the building burned and collapsed. Many of the rescuers and first responders were working without protective gear or breathing masks. Investigations continue into the lasting effects of 9/11.
The protective fire-retardant uniforms and other apparatus that firefighters utilize may also pose health hazards. Some older firefighting gear was crafted with durable asbestos fibers to enhance its resistance to heat. Once the fibers wear down, however, the toxic asbestos fibers are released into the air presenting a very serious health hazard.
If you are a firefighter exposed to asbestos at work and are now suffering from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, contact the Philadelphia asbestos attorneys at the law offices of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. With offices in Center City Philadelphia, we are conveniently located to represent asbestos victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our asbestos attorneys are compassionate and caring professionals who understand the sensitive nature of asbestos-related diseases, as well as the legal complexities of asbestos cases. We will assist you in recovering the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us at 800-369-0899 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today at a location convenient to you and your family.