Free firefighter training teaches the dangers of fire smoke

Training program on Saturday open to any Virginia firefighters

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – A free training session this Saturday at the Roanoke Regional Fire/EMS Training Center, located at 1220 Kessler Mill Road, aims to give firefighters from across Virginia a better understanding of the dangers of fire smoke and how to better protect their health.

"You can say that before, we didn't know what was dangerous, so it was just incidental. But now that you know something is dangerous, and if you continue to not do best practices, the burden is on you now to try to make your department better and give yourself a healthier lifestyle," said Capt. Greg Sazonov with Roanoke County Fire and Rescue.

The training program will be provided by the Fire Smoke Coalition, Inc., which works to educate firefighters and first responders around the world about the life-long dangers of breathing fire smoke. Saturday's training will include classroom instruction and a live burn demonstration.

"It is teaching our firefighters how to use our gas monitors properly, how to decontaminate our gear," Sazonov said. "It's a good refresher class for the area on those measures to protect ourselves against cancer."

RAE Systems and Honeywell are providing financial support for the event so it is free for firefighters to attend.

Sazonov said Roanoke County firefighters have implemented best practices for protecting themselves at a scene, which include hand washing, using wipes to reduce contaminant exposure in the field, and hosing off gear with soap and water at a scene before returning to a fire station. The County has also invested in new gear in the past year to protect firefighters.

Local sponsors for Saturday's event include Roanoke County Fire and Rescue, Roanoke Valley Firefighters Foundation, and the International Association of Fire Fighters. Click here for more information and to register, or email your name, department and email address to shawn@firesmoke.org. The training program is open to any firefighter in Virginia.

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