Medical treatment of the firefighters with cyanide exposure on the Station fire

Today we received the following information about the treatment being given to the firefighters that were exposed to Cyanide on September 1 on the Station fire near Los Angeles. We know and trust the person supplying the information and believe that they are trying to educate firefighters that may encounter similar circumstances.

Most of the federal land management agencies have appropriately modernized their protocols for the treatment of firefighters’ burn injuries. It is becoming apparent that they need to take similar action for HAZMAT exposure.

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Re: Cyanide Injuries of Firefighters on the Station Fire, Angeles National Forest

We as wildland firefighters rarely, if ever, deal with cyanide exposure injuries that we are aware of. Likewise, most physicians rarely deal with or treat these types of injuries. As such, I am forwarding the following information at the specific request of “others” to be shared widely within the wildland fire family. I was asked to do some research on behalf of some injured firefighters and support of their families. Nothing less… nothing more. Some concerns were brought forward that their Standard of Care might be/have been less than the evolving best care consensus standard. This is a collaborative community effort.

A large group of firefighters was reportedly exposed to cyanide, with media reports stating that one of the exposed firefighters suffered respiratory arrest. All but the most injured firefighter have been treated and released to the “home unit”. In all cases, the home unit DOES NOT have a full service hospital specializing in cyanide poisoning or extended followup care and observation, but rather is a Reservation facility located on Tribal lands in an adjacent state.

A non profit 501(c)3 exists that is comprised of experts from fire service organizations, firefighters, and physicians to protect firefighters and EMS responders from acute and chronic cyanide exposure. It is called the Cyanide Poisoning Treatment Coalition (CPTC).

The CPTC was formed to address the early recognition and proper treatment for firefighter and EMS personnel exposed to cyanide injuries.

Here are some links to more information about the CPTC:

Homepage: http://www.firesmoke.org/

About the CPTC

Participating Organizations

Board of Directors

24-Hour Contact Info: Executive Director, CPTC – (888) 517-5554.

Biography of the Executive Director of the CPTC: Co-Founder and Former Executive Director of the People’s Burn Foundation and the To Hell and Back burn prevention and recovery educational series.

I apologize for the blunt response, but it has been a busy day for many and I’m done taking phone calls for the night or trying to return them. They have a 24-hour access phone number and experts on staff to assist.

/s/ Wildland Firefighter Foundation Supporter and Researcher.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+