NVFC Attends Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance Meeting

On October 22-23, representatives from all aspects of the fire service gathered in Arlington, VA, for a meeting of the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance to address the challenges of firefighter cancer and how to minimize risks and protect our nation’s responders. NVFC board members Jim Seavey (MD) and Brian McQueen (NY) attended on behalf of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC).

Firefighter cancer is an alarming trend that has received much attention over the past few years as more and more firefighters are faced with cancer diagnoses. Studies have shown that firefighters are at increased risk for many types of cancer. Risks can be minimized by taking certain precautions, such as full and proper use of PPE and SCBA during response and overhaul, properly cleaning and storing gear, not transporting dirty gear in personal vehicles, and making sure gear is up to date and compliant. But there are many challenges to meeting the safety measures, and firefighter cancer rates continue to be high.

Raising awareness about the threat of firefighter cancer and advocating for safety measures to prevent exposure and lessen risks are key focuses of many fire service organizations, including the NVFC. The Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance provides an opportunity for these groups to come together to make recommendations on how to best protect responders and move in a unified direction to take action against this very serious health threat.

The Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance was convened by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and includes representatives from the NVFC, Congressional Fire Services Institute, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Firefighter Cancer Support Network, , Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Fire Service Training Association, National Fire Protection Association, National Fire Sprinkler Association, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and U.S. Forest Service along with medical experts, manufacturers, and industry media.