The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a nonprofit, non-governmental organization, is dedicated to reducing the burden of fire, electrical and related hazards by providing and advocating for scientifically based consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, and outreach.
Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Firefighter Cancer Initiative and assistant professor of public health sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, was appointed by the NFPA to serve as a principal member of the association’s Emergency Responders Occupational Health Technical Committee. Nurse/Paramedic Johanna Garibaldi, R.N., EMT-P and nurse navigator for the Sylvester Cancer Prevention and Wellness Clinic, will serve as an alternate on the committee.
“It is a true honor and privilege to participate in and contribute to the work on this international committee dedicated to firefighter health, safety and wellness,” Dr. Caban-Martinez said. “First responders provide a vast array of services and exhibit unwavering dedication to the communities that they serve. As occupational health and safety professionals and researchers, we can show our support of their efforts by providing strong evidence-based guidance on best practices that will protect our first responders from on-the-job hazards.”
NFPA technical committees serve as the principal consensus bodies responsible for the development and revision of NFPA standards that impact the work that first responders, code officials and building and life safety professionals do to ensure that people and property are protected from harm.
The technical committees provide subject matter expertise and guidance during the standards development process for 300-plus standards, including 114 that serve the emergency response community.
The NFPA Emergency Responders Occupational Health Technical Committee was established by the NFPA Standards Council to identify and consolidate contamination control requirements into one overarching document for all U.S. emergency responders. The chair of the new technical committee is Randy Krause, fire chief of the port of Seattle, who currently serves as chair of the NFPA Fire Service Occupational Safety and Health Technical Committee.
“First responders are exposed to many hazardous conditions and harmful chemicals in the workplace, including carcinogenic agents shown to increase cancer risk,” said Garibaldi. “Because I have spent most of my career working alongside firefighters, I have a personal connection to my brothers and sisters, therefore I am excited to share the research and clinical practices that we are developing through the Sylvester Firefighter Cancer Initiative and Cancer Prevention and Wellness Clinic with this important national technical committee.”
The primary goal of the committee will be to draft a national emergency responder occupational health standard that informs first responders about contamination and carcinogen spread due to occupational exposure on the fire ground, in gear and equipment, and in the fire stations where they live and work.