There’s a very good chance that, as you read this, firefighters are out somewhere on a call.
Firefighting is dangerous work, during the initial response and sometimes down the road, because of the exposure to dangerous chemicals.
It’s a complex problem, but there’s a new system to help that’s as simple as putting on a wristband.
And it’s not a super high-tech wristband, either.
Researchers at Duke University have been working with silicone wristbands.
The ones we see all over the place, that cost like a dollar.
It turns out they can absorb some hazardous compounds that we encounter when we’re out and about.
This got the researchers thinking.
We know that firefighters have a higher rate of what’s called occupational cancer than the general population, but we don’t quite know what all contributes to that.
So the researchers asked a group of firefighters to start wearing these wristbands when they’re at work as well as when they’re off duty.
The wristbands showed firefighters were exposed to plenty of hazardous substances while out on fire calls.
But it also found they encountered some contaminants when they were on duty but not actively fighting fires.
The hope is that if researchers can learn more about what firefighters are exposed to on the job, how they’re exposed and where those carcinogens come from, they can do more to protect those firefighters.
Auto-reply emails from work may be necessary, but they aren’t a whole lot of fun.
Here’s an alternative that is.
Iceland’s new tourism program OutHorse Your Email sets the country’s horses to work on giant keyboards, writing your boss and colleagues back so you don’t have to.
Yes, they really have giant keyboards!
No, I don’t have any idea what they type.