Improving the Culture of Cancer Risk Reduction and PPE Cleaning

Issue 1 and Volume 171.

Adopting an improved culture or changing behavior to elevate the desire to reduce firefighter cancer risk requires patience and perseverance. At Tualatin Valley (OR) Fire & Rescue (TVF&R), our culture developed over time. Our cultural norm changed through many experiences. Some of our experiences were firsthand—department members or retirees who passed away from cancer. Other experiences were gained by paying attention to things happening around us—national trends, legislation changes in our state, and scientific studies. Our leaders, with support of our union leaders, were committed to reducing the impact of cancer on our members. TVF&R was fortunate, with the support of the State of Oregon Governors State Fire Service Policy Council, to conduct live testing for a study on chemicals found at fire incidents. This study discovered a number of toxins present and developed an understanding of how and when exposures occur at a fire scene. The real benefit of…

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