Firefighters in Boston put their lives on the line every day and night to help keep others safe. They face a lot of risks on the job, including burns from raging fires, smoke inhalation, falling debris, roadside dangers when rescuing car accident victims and a various other job-related hazards. When they signed up for the job and entered the academy, they knew the risk they would be facing.
But one risk they should not have to fear is asbestos exposure in their own firehouses.
According to a recent news article from The Boston Globe, Boston Fire Commissioner, Joseph E. Finn, has discussed the awful state of disrepair into which Boston’s fire stations have fallen. He is now happy to be able allocate $26 million of the department’s budget to replace two of the worst fire stations and modernize others.
This is one piece of a larger plan to get one of the country’s oldest departments a much needed update.
While these two stations slated for demolition and replacement are in the worst state of disrepair, the city’s 31 other fire stations are not exactly in great shape either. This is a result of years of neglect and various piecemeal attempts to patch up problems in the past. It is important to keep in mind that firefighters do not only have to work in these stations, but also have to live in them for at least part of every week.
The condition of the stations is not only unpleasant, but it is also dangerous for firefighters and their families. One of the most troubling aspects is the large amount of asbestos, which is now in a deteriorating condition at many firehouses. Asbestos is present in pipe insulation, wall and roof insulation, flooring materials and other areas throughout the stations. All of this material is literally crumbling away.
As our Boston asbestos exposure attorneys can explain, when asbestos is crumbling, it is known as friable asbestos. Technically, friable asbestos is asbestos material capable of being crushed or crumbled under the pressure of a human hand. It is most dangerous in this stage of existence, because it is constantly giving off dust. Asbestos dust is made of up asbestos fibers, which are deadly if inhaled.
Once victims inhale these fibers, they can become embedded in the lungs and other tissue and develop into mesothelioma. However, it is not just firefighters who are at risk. One of the problems with asbestos is that it stays on workers’ clothes and those workers wear those clothes home, where it can expose other family members to deadly asbestos fibers. Unlike asbestos abatement workers who wear full body clean suits and decontaminate themselves before leaving at the end of shift, it is safe to assume these firefighters do not undergo the same rigorous decontamination process, nor do they wear respirators or ventilators at work.
Department officials hope this will not only increase safety and efficiency, they also hope the renovations will improve overall morale, which has been suffering as of late in what should be the pride of the nation.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Boston fire budget includes 2 new stations , Apr. 21, 2015, Boston Globe
More Blog Entries:
Urban Renewal Project Includes $247,000 for Asbestos Removal, May 18, 2014, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyers Blog