1. #1
    Lt Overmyer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Hepatitis C and SCBA's

    I have posted this in Firefighters forum also...
    Looking for any information you may have about contamination from Hep C and SCBA's. Thanks

    This is my opinion and not the opinions of the Carmel Fire Department.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If I remember hep-c is a bloodborne pathogen. That means you can't get it from casual contact but from blood to blood contact. To get blood contact you need to have a dirty needle stick, a transfusion with infected blood, or infected blood contact on broken skin. Remember that intact skin protects against alot of these viruses. To get contamination you would need to have infected blood on the SCBA and then the blood would have to come in contact with broken skin or particles would have to be inhaled. The problem with HEP-C is that it's a hardy little bug. Studies have found live virus in 10 day old dried blood on stainless steel. Theoretically you could transmit it with an SCBA, but you would have to get infected blood in the mask, and then that blood would have to come in contact with broken skin, or the membranes in the upper airway. Proper cleaning of the equiptment after each us should alleviate the risk, but not all of it. Should the infected person have a bleeding cut in thier mouth, they could cough in the mast and possibly send infected blood into the regulator. (especially if it is mask mounted) So is it possible to transmitt it through an SCBA, well theoretically yes, but it is highly improbable especially if a proper cleaning schedual is maintained on the equiptment. The best solution would be to do what we do here in Memphis. Every person has their own mask and regulator that plugs into the pack. The reason I say this is because you are going to have people that will be hesitant to share a mask no matter how small the chance of being infected. Best to just nip the whole issue in the bud.

    Larry Boothby
    Truck 3 A-shift
    Local 1784

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