(WKBN) — January is Firefighter Cancer Awareness month, and the International Association of Fire Fighters is working in conjunction with Firefighter Cancer Support Network to bring awareness to this issue.
Occupational cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters – surpassing heart disease. The International Association of Fire Fighters and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network state they are committed to reversing this trend to save more firefighter lives.
According to IAFF General President Edward Kelly, cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters, accounting for more than 74% of line-of-duty deaths.
“We must educate ourselves and do everything we can to extinguish cancer from the fire service,” Kelly said. “Together, the IAFF and FCSN are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to keep firefighters healthy on and off the job.”
During Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month, the IAFF and FCSN will partner to deliver targeted education and best practices and resources to reduce the impact of cancer on firefighters.
The month-long campaign includes safety stand-downs, factsheets, podcasts, survivor stories and training briefs. These materials focus on the scope of the cancer problem, prevention and skills to help departments reduce their risk of occupational cancer.
Topics are reinforced through online resources, such as daily training information and infographics that promote the program on social media and podcasts addressing important cancer topics and the latest research.
“As we continue to learn more about the link between firefighting and cancer, it is more important than ever that we take steps to minimize the risk firefighters face every single day,” says FCSN CEO Bryan Frieders. “The science around firefighter exposures is constantly changing, but with continued research, we learn more and more and are better equipped to introduce prevention practices to reduce our risk of developing occupational cancer.”