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The International Association of Fire Fighters and Masimo Team Up on a New Global Campaign to Raise Awareness of Carbon Monoxide-Related Death and Injury Risks for Fire Fighters
Date:7/23/2009

IRVINE, Calif., July 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Masimo jointly announced the launch of a new international health and safety initiative aimed at educating fire fighters about the duty-related dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) and reducing known risk factors that unnecessarily kill and injure hundreds of fire fighters each year. The campaign, kicked off at the biennial IAFF EMS Conference in Miami Beach, Florida, will feature actor Randolph Mantooth -- widely recognized as Los Angeles County fire fighter/paramedic "Johnny Gage" in the popular 1970s television series EMERGENCY! -- speaking out about his own near-death CO experience while highlighting the immediate and long-term health risks and prevention strategies of CO exposure at IAFF district meetings and conferences throughout the year.

CO poisoning is a danger at every fire, but its symptoms -- headache, dizziness, fatigue -- are often absent or non-specific, making on-scene awareness and detection difficult. This puts fire fighters at significant risk on the scene of a fire because even mild CO poisoning can rob the brain of oxygen(1), which can lead to poor decision making(2). It can also rob the heart of oxygen, causing immediate life-threatening complications -- with half of on-duty fire fighter deaths being attributed to heart attacks or stroke(3). And, just one severe CO poisoning almost doubles their long-term risk of death(4). CO poisoning is often present without symptoms and is not easy to detect(5), -- making fire fighter education and awareness a critical necessity. The new educational campaign builds on last year's efforts to increase CO awareness and safety among fire fighters by distributing education materials to more than 3,200 local union presidents in the United States and Canada.

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