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Dräger, a pioneer in medical and safety technology, is launching its ‘Health for the Firefighter’ campaign to support fire services in driving the cultural changes that are required to protect firefighter health. Impact of exposure The launch follows a survey of UK firefighters that found considerable concern over the impact of exposure to contaminants on long-term health. Some 84% admitted they were concerned about the risk of cancer – a disease highlighted in some scientific reports to be the cause of death within the service. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) reports that nearly two out of three (61%) firefighter line-of-duty deaths between 2002 and 2017 were caused by cancer. Embedded carcinogens in any equipment can easily be absorbed by the men and women using it. Robust hygiene processes We need to move away from firefighters wearing dirty kit like a badge of honor" The survey by Dräger also found that more than two thirds (68%) of firefighters fear the impact of COVID-19 on their long-term health, a point picked up by Brian Hesler, Consultant and Specialist Advisor at Draeger Safety UK and former Chief Fire Officer for the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service: “The COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing fears over cancer, have highlighted the critical importance of hygiene, and a significant cultural change is required. We need to move away from firefighters wearing dirty kit like a badge of honor that proves their hard work and value, to understanding that clean and well-maintained kit supported by detailed and robust hygiene processes that mitigate every contact with contaminants are essential. One firefighter surveyed said ‘they had always been a bit blasé about invisible contaminants’. This has got to change.” Detailed hygiene processes The Health for the Firefighter campaign will support the fire services in helping to communicate and provide training on the importance of detailed hygiene processes; from the handling and storage of masks and breathing apparatus (BA) equipment through to the subsequent cleaning of the kit after an incident has occurred. It will also provide bespoke workshop solutions that guide the potentially contaminated kit from entering the station, to washing and drying processes through to leaving the station to be used again. In addition to providing detailed advice for manual washing processes including on detergent use and drying techniques, Dräger is the first company in the Emergency Services space to launch specialist BA and mask cleaning equipment and dedicated solutions, including mechanical washing systems that provide complete consistency in washing temperatures, the amount of detergent used, speed and temperature of drying – which can all work together to disinfect contaminants and to protect the longevity of the kit. Mechanical equipment washing However, only 23% said that the pandemic had significantly changed their approach to cleaning equipment Support also encompasses logistical support for installation, the ongoing maintenance of equipment and the quantity of stock required. The survey revealed the most important factors in combating firefighter concerns over contaminants were the cleaning of masks with 97% rating this as very or extremely important, closely followed by the cleaning of BA equipment (95%) and cleaning of PPE (94%). While manual cleaning of equipment is still generally the norm within UK Fire Services, the survey revealed three quarters (75%) believed that mechanical equipment washing would improve their health, and 80% agreed that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic more emphasis should be placed on cleaning equipment and hygiene control. However, only 23% said that the pandemic had significantly changed their approach to cleaning equipment. Responsibility to innovate solutions “There is obvious concern over cleaning of equipment following the pandemic,” adds Brian. “One surveyed firefighter said ‘they clean to the best of their ability’ – the point is that a person’s ability should not be a factor in the cleaning process.” “Consistency has to be key and manufacturers of medical and safety technology products have a responsibility to innovate solutions that support change. We are not here to tell brigades how to operate, rather to provide a range of solutions that support them and their firefighters’ health.”
In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dräger has received an order from the British government to deliver respiratory protection masks (FFP3). The delivery of the order will start in 2020 and will stretch until the end of 2021. The expected net sales are roughly EUR 100 million. For this purpose, a mask production will be set up in the UK, in the Blyth area of Northumberland. There, Dräger has had a development and production site for respiratory protection technology for firefighters and industry for over 50 years. Production sites in France and the US This is in addition to the existing production network in Sweden and South Africa and the recently decided new production sites in France and the US. The investment in the expansion of production capacities across all five production sites will require a mid-double-digit million euro amount in the 2020 financial year. Certified FFP respiratory protection masks Rainer Klug, Chief Officer of Safety Division at Dräger: "We are very pleased about the major order from the British government. It gives us the opportunity to expand our international production network for FFP masks. With this additional production unit, Dräger will increase volumes quickly and flexibly. Our international production network enables us to react very quickly and specifically to national or local requirements on the one hand, and to cover international requirements in a closely networked and flexible manner on the other. Dräger thus operates a highly responsive manufacturing system for certified FFP respiratory protection masks, with a product design originating from our own development in Germany."
Concentrations of hazardous substances in the ambient air at the workplace should not exceed specified limit values. Monitoring these sometimes very low values is a demanding task. The focus of the Dräger X-act 7000, in combination with the Dräger MicroTubes for different gases and vapors, is to measure carcinogenic and toxic substances in the lower ppb range. Dräger X-act 7000 analysis system The range of gases to be measured is being constantly expanded. The measurement-sensitive system of the X-act 7000 is based on colorimetric chemical sensor technology and measures even the lowest ppb concentrations. It can replace conventional laboratory analysis and delivers exact reliable results directly on site. False-positive measurement results and false alarms can be largely reduced. This saves time and costs and is easy to use. RFID tags applied to Dräger MicroTubes The analyzer is explosion-proof and certified in accordance with ATEX/IECEx for zone 0 The RFID tags applied to the Dräger MicroTubes contain all the calibration data that is valid for the typical period of use of one year. Complex functional tests and manual calibration procedures are no longer necessary. All possible temperature and humidity influences are already taken into account during factory calibration. The analyzer is explosion-proof and certified in accordance with ATEX/IECEx for zone 0. In addition, the system is IP54 protected against dust and splash water. It also meets the requirements of electromagnetic compatibility according to EN 61326-1. Dräger CC Vision software After an automatic self-test, the X-act 7000 analysis system is immediately ready for use. The user controls the measurement task via the 3-button operation unit and the 2.4-inch color display. The measurement result, location and time can be stored in the internal data logger and read out with the Dräger CC Vision software. Power is supplied by five easily replaceable batteries. The battery capacity is sufficient for more than ten hours of measuring and is indicated on the display. The Dräger X-am pump can be adapted to the X-act 7000 by a connecting piece. This makes it possible to measure carcinogenic and toxic substances in the ppb range possible even in inaccessible locations such as canals, ducts or tank facilitates up to a distance of 45 meters. Since the X-am pump also has explosion protection certification for zone 0, it is ideally suited for these applications. The X-act 7000 is exclusively manufactured by Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA (Dräger Safety AG & Co. KGaA).
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