Exposure To Chemicals and Toxins In The Field

June 22, 2018

Exposure To Chemicals and Toxins In The Field

by Ian D Scofield

FBI Agent David J. LeValley died in May according to an FBI press release. His death was caused by complications from his work as an FBI agent on September 11th, 2001. 9/11 was one of the biggest tragedies our country has encountered and for it to take another life is just that much more devastating. All of the FBI and the United States has suffered a great loss.

Agent LeValley’s death highlights an important issue; toxin and chemical exposure.  During his response to the terror attacks on 9/11 Agent LeValley was exposed to toxins that eventually resulted in his death this year. Unfortunately, chemical and toxin exposures happen and it is a bigger risk than ever.

More and more chemicals are being used around the world to create buildings. For other purposes too.  Taking proper precautions for chemical and toxin exposure is important and that is why we are going to address it today.

Get Educated

The first step to protecting yourself from exposure to chemicals and toxins is to get educated. A variety of classes and online courses offer informative content on the various hazards that are out there. You will learn that there are hundreds of ways that you can get exposed to hazards of all kinds, ways that you might not even be aware of.

If your agency does not provide a class on chemical and toxin identification/treatment, it never hurts to take one on your own for your own education. What you learn could end up saving your life.

Get The Proper Protective Equipment

Gloves aren’t the only protective equipment out there but I have met plenty of people who act as if it is the only protection that matters. Masks, protective suits, and safety glasses are all easily carryable in your patrol vehicle. With these items alone you can prevent the majority of exposures. Adding a respirator never hurts.

When equipping yourself or your department, make sure that you pick out rated and certified equipment. For example, a large number of face masks will not even protect against the flu. If the mask won’t protect against the flu, how can it protect against anything else?

Evaluate The Scene And Situation

Constantly be evaluating every scene and situation to determine if there is any health risk. You already evaluate every situation for safety concerns such as weapons, why not look for other risks too. Practice consciously looking through each situation and inventorying potential health hazards.

When you identify a health hazard at a situation, take steps to minimize your chances of exposure. If you can’t eliminate exposure, reduce the amount of exposure that you do get. Reducing the exposure can make the difference between sickness and death.

Fentanyl is just one example of the exposure risks to officers in the modern age. Since our first article on the dangerous drug, there have been many more officer exposures to fentanyl. Do your best to learn the risks out there, how to counter them, and how to treat them.

Agent David J. LeValley, unfortunately, hasn’t been the only responder to 9/11 to die from toxin exposure. In fact, he isn’t the only one to have died this year from the exposure they received while trying to save lives. Do your best to protect yourself while protecting others. The better off you protect yourself, the longer you can protect others.

Watch for potential exposure events and stay safe out there!


 

About The Author:

Ian is a staff writer at APTI and hospital security officer at a major medical center who has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice.  He has held multiple positions in the security industry from patrol supervisor to auxiliary public safety officer. At APTI he brings his writing skills to help further the careers of others and provide quality content.  Feel free to visit his freelancing site or his creative writing site.





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