Fire EMS, Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting

Protect Your Hearing

Issue 10 and Volume 166.

BY CHRIS BLAND The fire service has made great advances in safety since I became a firefighter. Our personal protective equipment has improved tremendously over the past several decades. Additionally, a dramatic cultural shift has made it the norm to always wear our safety gear, even on the mundane calls. In spite of these advances, however, we have not focused on a very important aspect of personal safety: protecting our hearing. This passiveness toward hearing conservation occurs across many agencies and all ranks. I am a man on a mission to protect our hearing. Adequate hearing is important so firefighters can understand spoken commands over the radio while wearing self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as well as hear evacuation and air alarm signals. An inability to hear low-intensity sounds or to distinguish a voice from background noise could lead to a failure to respond in a situation of immediate danger.1 Your…

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