Volunteer firefighters volunteer to fight fires and protect their communities. They don’t volunteer to get cancer. Today’s firefighters are exposed to more cancer-causing toxins and carcinogens than ever before due to modern construction materials. In the above video, volunteer firefighter families tell their stories, all of which have been shaped by cancer.
The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) is fighting to get presumptive cancer coverage legislation passed in New York State. The bill would extend the same coverage career firefighters receive to more than 92,000 volunteers across New York State.
Firefighters are significantly more likely to develop many types of cancer than the general population due to the high levels of carcinogens and other toxins found in burning buildings and hazardous environments. Effective education and better maintenance of equipment are essential to lowering the risk of cancer, but a simple fact remains: Firefighters are being diagnosed with cancer at a disturbingly high rate.