Mesothelioma News: Orlando’s firefighter asbestos exposure – September 2016

Posted on Friday, January 13th, 2017 at 9:17 am    

Mesothelioma News: Orlando’s firefighter asbestos exposure – September 2016

In February 2016, the City of Orlando and Orlando Fire Department officials exposed firefighters to asbestos during a training exercise. More than twelve firefighters prepared an abandoned apartment building for a training exercise. One firefighter explained that they were scraping on their hands and knees removing old asbestos floor tiles from some of the rooms in the apartment building. This was carried out without wearing protective clothing or respiratory equipment as is required by the law. Supervisors instructed the firefighters to remove the tiles even though they had received a pre-demolition survey carried out by a Tampa company identifying asbestos in the building. In response to the firefighters’ claims the city secured the site and submitted an asbestos survey of the property and filed a submission for the demolition or asbestos renovation reporting forms.  Thereafter, city officials contracted an asbestos abatement company to remove the asbestos materials professionally and properly.

Decision not to fine

Investigators met with the Orange County Environmental Protection Division officials and decided not to impose any penalties. However, the Fire Department officials were required to initiate an asbestos training program. The program was expected to be implemented in November 2016. Officials from both the City of Orlando and the Fire Department met to clarify guidelines . And also requirements to develop mandatory asbestos awareness classes for all fire department staff. The training program would include asbestos notification, removal requirements and regulations surrounding burn training.

It was noted that the final training draft was finished and was awaiting approval from the Environmental Protection Division. The training program will benefit the fire department staff. It will also serve as a model and be shared with other Central Florida agencies.

Asbestos fibers can be released into the air by way of disturbance of asbestos materials such as the asbestos floor tiles, by scraping, breaking or cracking. If inhaled or swallowed these fibers lodge in lung tissue and cause scarring and could lead to cancer.



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