Leadership

BIOHAZARD

Issue 4 and Volume 141.

BIOHAZARD Living haz mats can cause disease in improperly protected responders. HAZARDOUS MATERIALS Biological hazards aren’t often a factor in fire response, but when they are, they may go unrecognized at the cost of a firefighter’s health. These hazards are various pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, fungi, and viruses, which vary as to their health risk. Plant pathogens, for instance, are of little concern to humans; others are deadly, such as the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Biohazardous substances are often found in hospitals, various types of industrial processes, and university and private research laboratories of several types—biology, biochemistry, microbiology, virology, and medical. Not all such labs will contain biohazards; conversely, biohazards may be found in such seemingly innocent places as environmental science and dairy science labs. Even some high school and community college labs contain small quantities. Potential problems are complicated by the fact that the same facility…

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