Scottish Green MSP calls for decontamination equipment for all fire stations

All fire stations must have the necessary decontamination equipment for firefighters, according to Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman. 

Maggie raised the issue this afternoon in a Portfolio Question to Elena Whitham, the Minister for Community Safety. 

In her answer, the Minister said that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service puts a high priority on improving equipment and facilities to reduce exposure to contaminants. She also committed to working with the Fire Brigade Union on the issue.

Last year the World Health Organisation declared firefighting to be a carcinogenic profession. Occupational exposure experienced by firefighters leads to cancers that are preventable.

Next Thursday, Maggie will be using a Member’s Debate to discuss the Fire Brigade Union’s decontamination campaign.

Speaking after her Question, Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman said:

“The role that firefighters play is so important to us and our communities. They put their bodies and wellbeing on the line every day in order to keep us safe in some of the most devastating and dangerous circumstances.

“Yet, a study of the emergency service staff in Scotland said firefighters’ cancer mortality rate was 1.6 times higher than others, likely due to exposure to toxic substances while on the job. Some cancers were nearly six times more prevalent in firefighters than the general population.

“Every firefighter deserve the best preventative medical care, education, and support to reduce the risk of cancer. But they also need the right equipment and facilities to enable them to decontaminate after attending fires.”

“That is why I have called on the Minister to produce a plan to upgrade facilities and infrastructure at fire stations across Scotland to ensure these front-line workers have what they need to be safe.

“I look forward to further discussion on this issue, and the Fire Brigade Union’s decontamination campaign at my member’s debate next Thursday.”