The fire service does not shy away from risk. Putting their lives on the line is in the nature of a firefighter’s occupation. However, this is not done recklessly or taken lightly. Fire departments routinely train on important procedures for rescue and extrication, EMS care, incident scene communication and more.
However, risks are not always visible and immediate, such as carcinogen exposure that may not manifest itself until years following an incident, or series of incidents. Does your fire department proactively manage and prepare your firefighters for silent threats like cancer?
According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN), cancer is the No. 1 cause of firefighter line-of-duty deaths—accounting for 60% of LODDs in a 2016 study.
This occupational risk can be reduced with effective awareness and prevention training. As January is Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month, Vector Solutions is offering informational resources, a complimentary cancer prevention course and best practices in our LMS to build a strong firefighter cancer awareness training program.
To provide guidance to fire service agencies, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) partnered together to designate January as Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month.
Each week of January is dedicated to a specific theme around firefighter cancer awareness. Throughout the month, they are highlighting the scope of this issue, firefighter cancer research, prevention strategies and creating a culture of safety.
The key to lowering your department’s overall risk of firefighting-related cancers is education. It’s crucial for each firefighter to understand how they are exposed to carcinogens, the impact of exposures and how to limit prolonged exposure.
Vector Solutions has partnered with our public safety professionals for years to provide tools and resources to help improve their safety. Our goal, like yours, is to improve outcomes in every fire department through comprehensive training and a strong safety culture. As such, we are offering firefighters and fire service leaders a variety of cancer prevention resources, free of charge.
Cancer and the Fire Service: What Can Be Done to Reduce the Risks, is a white paper that includes extensive fire fighting cancer research. Using statistics, multiple scientific studies and NFPA best practices, this will help firefighters start their journey of a proactive approach to cancer prevention.
With this video course, personnel will have a deeper understanding of the eight most common carcinogens they may face as well as proper turnout gear care and maintenance. Fire departments can assign this crucial training across their agency through their TargetSolutions learning management system (LMS). This allows agencies to verify personnel complete important cancer awareness training and implement best practices.
In addition to complimentary access to important cancer awareness training, Vector Solutions also released its mental health awareness course, Mental Health Awareness for Emergency Responders, free of charge.
To encourage awareness and give back, Vector Solutions is donating $1 for every course completion of NFPA 1851 Cancer-Related Risks of Firefighting and Mental Health Awareness for Emergency Responders to the American Cancer Society and the First Responder Center for Excellence, respectively, from October through December of last year.
Note: If you are an existing user of the TargetSolutions LMS platform, please contact your administrator to request this complimentary firefighter cancer awareness training.
In addition to training, other departments, such as Mobile Fire Rescue Department (AL), is using their TargetSolutions LMS to proactively document employee’s exposures to possible carcinogens and risks.
Mobile FR Training Captain Barry Glisson said, “We created an Occupational Exposure report to track firefighters’ exposure to structure fires so that we can better document the accumulative effect and help protect the health, wellbeing and financial accountability to firefighters.”