The brave men and women who join the fire service and help keep their communities safe do so at great risk to their own health. It's not just at the risk of being exposed to falling debris, scorching flames, and suffocating toxins, but to carcinogenic substances that can take years to develop into devastating illnesses. It’s also important to understand that it is not only those running into burning buildings that face carcinogen exposures but also those at the station who are potentially exposed by apparatus, equipment, or other items brought back from a fire, such as emergency vehicle technicians.
Occupational cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for firefighters. A NIOSH study completed in late 2015, which included nearly 30,000 career firefighters, found that participants had a 9% increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14% increase in cancer-related deaths compared to the number of cancers expected using U.S. population rates. In response to alarming occupational cancer rates in the fire service, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), in partnership with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN), designated January as Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month to provide members of the fire service with critical guidance for cancer prevention and support for those with a diagnosis.
Providing ongoing training and access to relevant resources and tools to fire service members is essential for creating a culture that cultivates a safe and effective workplace. Raising awareness and providing valuable resources that help firefighters better understand their risks and develop prevention strategies is important to Vector Solutions all year long.
Please leverage our collection of resources below on occupational cancer in the fire service, including access to complimentary video-based online training, to learn more about its impact and what you can do to reduce risk.
Upcoming Webinar: How to Create a Successful Behavioral Health Program
Join us on February 3 to hear Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance Founder and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Behavioral Health Administrator, Jeff Dill, share twelve steps to create a behavioral health program, the importance of Peer Support/CISM in the fire service, how FBHA can help, and more.
Online Training on Cancer-Related Risks of Firefighting to Benefit ACS and FCSN
Training is essential for preparing firefighters to be safe and effective in every aspect of their role, including being proactive about occupational cancer risks. In October 2021, we launched our annual firefighter cancer awareness campaign, offering complimentary access to one of our most critical online training courses for the fire service, NFPA 1851 - Cancer-Related Risks of Firefighting, donating $1 for every course completion by January 31, 2022, to the American Cancer Society and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, up to $5,000 each.
Occupational Cancer in the Fire Service: Prevention Strategies and the Role of Early Detection
An exploration into occupational cancer risks, research, and prevention practices featuring Chief Todd LeDuc (Ret.), Chief Strategy Officer for Life Scan Wellness Centers, cancer survivor and firefighter Sean Ryan of Albemarle County Fire Rescue (VA), and Bryan Frieders, President of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.
A Tool for Mental, Emotional, and Physical Wellness
See how Early Intervention (EI) systems such as Guardian Tracking, can easily track critical incidents and triggering events, notifying when thresholds are met, like flagging firefighters for increased screening to catch cancer sooner.
Implementing Extensive PPE Checks to Meet NFPA 1851 Compliance
This engaging discussion takes a deep dive into how you can leverage Vector Check It to develop an effective PPE inspection program to ensure proper care, maintenance, and compliance are maintained.
Whitepaper: Cancer and The Fire Service – What Can Be Done to Reduce The Risks
This whitepaper includes extensive fire service cancer research, using statistics, multiple scientific studies, and NFPA best practices to offer a proactive approach to cancer prevention.
Infographic: Think You're Hot? So Does Cancer
This eye-catching piece shares top cancer-causing substances, what to look out for, and steps to protect yourself.