Research shows that firefighters are more likely to be diagnosed with certain types of cancer than the general public – a trend that two fire service organizations hope to reduce. The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) will partner to deliver targeted education about best practices and resources to reduce the impact of cancer on firefighters this January as they create Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month.
The month-long campaign will include Safety Stand Downs, training briefs meant to highlight the effects of occupational cancer and focus on topics of prevention and mitigation. The topics of these briefs include: the scope of the cancer problem, best practices on prevention, leadership tactics to help prevention, and skills to help survivors of occupational cancer.
The topics will be reinforced with online resources such as daily training information and infographics that promote the program and underline the importance of the issue on social media and podcasts addressing the important issues of prevention and documentation of exposures to carcinogens.
“The health and well-being of firefighters is our top priority. There needs to be further education, more assistance, and resources for firefighters when it comes to navigating the overwhelming gravity of a cancer diagnosis,” says FCSN CEO Bryan Frieders. “In addition to our badge-to-badge support, the FCSN is committed to providing resources, education and training to reduce the risk of occupational cancer for all fire and EMS professionals. This partnership will undoubtedly save lives and increase awareness.”
“Our members are being diagnosed with cancers as a result of on-the-job exposures. We have had the sad duty of adding far too many of their names to the walls of our Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “That is why we have partnered with the FCSN to create the Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness month – to give our hard-working members the most up-to-date guidance and data that will allow them the opportunity to enjoy a long, safe career and a healthy retirement.”