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Why Fire Stations Need Modern, Efficient Shower Facilities

Posted by Michael Kiernan

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Fire stations are at the frontline of community safety. However, they harbour a range of hidden dangers that put our firefighters at risk. One of the biggest hazards is a lack of safe, hygienic shower solutions. Here’s what you need to know, and why it matters.

A Hidden Risk

Fighting fires is a dangerous business, but firefighters are exposed to more dangers than just smoke, heat, and falling masonry. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), cancer is one of the leading occupational health risks within the profession. This is due to exposure to a range of carcinogenic particles, a daily hazard that has prompted the Fire Brigade’s Union (FBU) to call for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to “take urgent measures to keep firefighters safe.”

Decontamination

One of the most important ways to keep firefighters free from deadly toxins is effective decontamination. However, according to a survey of 100,000 firefighters from across the UK, 50% reported that they “don’t think their fire service takes decontamination practices seriously.” This was supported by University of Lancashire testing of 18 fire stations, which found toxic chemicals inside helmets, inside gloves, and inside breathing apparatus. Whilst wide-scale changes to best practice in equipment decontamination is clearly required, the FBU also argues that it is vital that firefighters are able to shower thoroughly following contact with potentially contaminated environments or equipment.

Toxins In The Bedroom

The majority of fire station shower units were installed in the 1970s and 1980s when the issue of toxic chemicals was not well understood. As such, many stations still have shower cubicles inside the dorm room, resulting in a plethora of health and safety hazards. For instance, contaminants are easily transferred to spaces that should remain sterile, such as bed linen. Perhaps more worryingly, antiquated shower facilities typically include substances such as grout. A porous material, grout absorbs both water and chemicals, which can then be released by steam and heat.

A Hygienic Solution

As the fire service gradually improves its decontamination facilities, widespread upgrades to shower units are required. One of the most effective solutions is the installation of shower pods. These have several benefits. Firstly, they are constructed from inert, non-porous materials, meaning that they can be easily and effectively sanitised after use. Secondly, shower pods can be designed to fit any space, making them an ideal upgrade choice for older buildings. Thirdly, they are a cost-effective solution. Perhaps most importantly, however, is the fact that pods can be built off-site and installed in as little as two hours, meaning that vital fire services are not interrupted.

Shower Pods For Fire Stations From Advanced Showers

The world is waking up to the importance of sanitisation and the need to keep frontline workers safe. A lack of adequate decontamination facilities is something that 50,000 surveyed firefighters state is a major concern, especially as the cancer risk in this profession is elevated. As the emergency services look to safeguard their employees, the shower pod has emerged as a logical and budget-friendly solution.

For more information about how Advanced Showers can keep your teams safe, get in touch today.       

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