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Pride and Peril of Modern Day Firefighting

By USSC Staff

Firefighters take great pride, and risk, in their efforts to save lives and property. It has been a noble profession for centuries, dating back to its origins in ancient Rome and later modernized in France. The first official ‘fire brigades’, using rudimentary fire-preventing portable pumps, date back to 1699 under the reign of King Louis XIV. Beginning in 1750, French brigades became paid paramilitary units, wearing uniforms and eventually helmets.

Today, modern firefighting is but a vague resemblance to those origins of old. Sophisticated fire apparatus and turnout gear, SCBA, and technology, all combine in an effort to make firefighting more effective and safer for firefighting crews. While the industry has made monumental improvements, there is a hidden danger today: the impacts of carcinogens and toxic hazards on firefighter health.

Smoke is perhaps the most visible element associated with fires, but the often invisible toxicity of burning plastics, chemicals, and manmade products not of wood have added to the danger and long-term health impacts of being a modern firefighter. In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) initiated a study to evaluate the risk of cancer in firefighters. Roughly 30,000 participants, from firefighting eras starting in 1950 to today, comprise the largest study of firefighters ever completed. Results thus far are sounding alarms throughout the industry.

While it is impossible to protect firefighters from every inherent danger of the job, certain measures can be taken that may help abate exposure and transference of carcinogens and pathogens to the firefighters themselves. Consider the amount of time a firefighter sits in an apparatus seat. It is perhaps the most-used apparatus feature every firefighter encounters—making it a top safety priority, particularly if it can aid in reducing the risks of cancer or other health-related firefighting consequences.

Whether to or from a scene, VALOR First Responder Seating with VALORTech XD™ is designed to both protect the firefighter and aid in the resistance of carcinogens, pathogens, and microbial agents. It is one of a kind in the industry and has been an integral part of the seating solution since inception, even before this important research documented results.

Manufactured in Exton, Pennsylvania, VALOR First Responder Seating is a derivative of USSC Group’s highly acclaimed military line, GSS. Firefighting and military have much in common, and both deserve every protection available. VALOR seating offers other built-in safety technologies, including heating and cooling systems to aid in thermal recovery, RollTek™ side airbags, and extreme-duty upholstery fabric durable enough for SWAT teams, military applications, and fire apparatus.


Lean more at usscgroup.com  or contact Steve Toren at storen@usscgroup.com or 612-963-5158.


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