FDSOA Event: The Safety Officer’s Role in Cancer Prevention

What is the role of the Safety Officer in preventing firefighter exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens and toxins? Research has conclusively linked certain types of cancers to firefighting.

The Fire Department Safety Officers Association’s annual Safety Forum, January 18-20, 2017, in Orlando, FL, will offer three programs to address firefighter cancer and what fire department safety officers can do about cancer risks among firefighters, EMS and emergency vehicle technicians.

In the first program, “The Boston Cancer Study” by Commissioner Joseph Finn and Rich Paris, will review the prevention program created for the Boston Fire Department after statistics revealed a Boston firefighter is twice as likely to get cancer than the average resident. After a powerful video released this spring, Boston Fire Department is actively raising awareness of the firefighter cancer rates.

Second, Victor Stagnaro, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, will present “Cancer—Distantly Dangerous to Life and Health.” Stagnaro said, “The hazards the 21-st Century American firefighter faces may not be ‘immediately’ dangerous to life and health, but are ‘Distantly Dangerous to Life and Health’”. The presentation will provide recommendations developed by the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance. According to Stagnaro, both the individual firefighter and the organizations they operate under have responsibilities to reduce the exposures, educate fellow firefighters, ensure that the carcinogens that attach themselves to firefighting equipment don’t contaminate others, and take care of those men and women who took an oath to serve their communities and, as a result of their occupation, have been diagnosed with the insidious disease.  

Lastly, Architect Paul Erickson, LeMay Erickson Willcox, will explain how to limit contaminants in the fire station with his popular presentation, “Hot Zones and the Fire Station.”  Erickson, one of the leading architects in fire station design, will offer insights on how and why it is critical to restrict exposures within the fire station from contaminated turnout gear, equipment and apparatus.

The Safety Forum will also include topics on:
•    IAFC SHS Track – Health and Wellness Safety Program Success Story – Jake Rhoades
•    IAFC SHS Track – Overcoming Safety Challenges in Your Fire Department – Robert Atlas
•    POISONED-The Smoke You’re Breathing Is Slowly Killing You – Robert Fling

Details and registration are available at www.FDSOA.org

The Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA) was established in 1989 as a non-profit association, incorporated in Massachusetts. In 2013, the offices moved to Michigan. Its mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community. The association is led by a volunteer board of directors and has a small staff to handle the day-to-day operations. The association is dedicated to the issues that affect the critical role of the safety officer in protecting and promoting the safety and health responsibilities of fire departments, communities and first responders. FDSOA works to helps fire departments achieve proficiency and promote the recognition of training, skills and a secure future. In May 2016, FDSOA won the Paul S. Sarbanes Fire Service Safety Leadership Award for its work over 28 years, “as an organization fully dedicated to the health and safety of the nation’s firefighters.”

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