The Healthy Firefighters Project saves lives
The Healthy Firefighters Project is run by Kommunal (union for the professional and volontary fire fighters) and the Swedish Firefighters’ Union (BRF, organization for volontary fire fighters) together with the employer organisations SALAR and Pacta, and with the Swedish Work Environment Authority (AMV) and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) as reference groups.
The basis of the project is to prevent firefighters from developing cancer later in life. It has long been known that firefighters are affected to a greater degree than are other occupational groups by certain types of dangerous illnesses. This is due to their work environment, not only at the scene of a fire but also at the fire station.
The Skellefteå Model provides the basis
The project has developed the Skellefteå Model which involves developing routines that everyone can follow and where everyone works in the same way and according to a certain model after each fire. Once a fire has been extinguished, the firefighters change out of their contaminated working clothes and into clean ones. The contaminated working clothes are immediately placed in bags and taken with them to the fire station for cleaning. This method means that other firefighters are not exposed to the carcinogenic substances in the changing room. Equipment and firefighting vehicles are also decontaminated.
This project to improve the work environment has received the Good Practice Award, which is presented by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Now a book has also been published: ”Healthy Firefighters – the Skellefteå Model Improves the Work Environment” by Stefan Magnusson and David Hultman. The book is available in English.