Protect Yourself Against Cancer

According to a new white paper released by the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, cancer is the most dangerous and unrecognized threat to the health of our nation’s firefighters. While the magnitude of the problem is just coming to light, multiple studies have shown credible evidence that there are higher rates of multiple types of cancers in firefighters compared to the general American population.

The white paper, Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service, provides the following 11 immediate actions that firefighters can take to help protect themselves. The document also stresses the importance of annual medical exams since early detection and treatment are essential to increasing survival.

  1. Use SCBA from initial attack to finish of overhaul. (Not wearing SCBA in both active and post-fire environments is the most dangerous voluntary activity in the fire service today.)
  2. Do gross field decon of PPE to remove as much soot and particulates as possible.
  3. Use Wet-Nap or baby wipes to remove as much soot as possible from head, neck, jaw, throat, underarms, and hands immediately and while still on the scene.
  4. Change your clothes and wash them immediately after a fire.
  5. Shower thoroughly after a fire.
  6. Clean your PPE, gloves, hood, and helmet immediately after a fire.
  7. Do not take contaminated clothes or PPE home or store it in your vehicle.
  8. Decon fire apparatus interior after fires.
  9. Keep bunker gear out of living and sleeping quarters.
  10. Stop using tobacco products.
  11. Use sunscreen or sun block.

Read the full white paper.