On a fire scene the actual fire, toxic smoke, and the risk of a collapse are far from the only dangers. Today we know that carcinogens from the fire contaminate turnout gear and SCBA’s. As a result, thousands of firefighters are diagnosed with cancer every year. In fact, cancer caused 70% of the line-of-duty deaths for career firefighters in 2016.
So what can we do to protect those that protect others? The answer is: a lot. Cancer awareness is rising and the more we know, the more we can do. At Interspiro equipment decontamination have been a high priority for over 7 years and our Incurve is the worlds most cleanable firefighting system. Together we will defeat work-related cancer in the fire service.
• Firefighters have a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population
• Firefighters have a 102% increased risk of getting testicular cancer
• Children to firefighters are more likely to have congenital heart defects
• Besides cancer, firefighters are more likely to suffer from infertility and develop asthma, allergy and cardiovascular diseases.
These statistics are from 2006/2007. Since then, many fire brigades in several countries have worked hard with safety regulations regarding contamination. The Swedish organization Healthy firefighters and the Skellefteå model have greatly contributed to better and safer working conditions for firefighters today.
This video shows Healthy Firefighters - The Skellefteå Model. This protocol reduces firefighters’ exposures to toxic substances found in products of combustion. The Skellefteå Model is based on research, experience and simplicity. The model shows simple methods for converting harmful habits into good habits in the
work environment, thereby reducing the risk of occupational illnesses.
Here are some useful links to where you can read more about cancer in the fire service, prevention, treatment and support.
Learn more on contamination of PPE and the How Clean is Clean-project.
On FFCCS you find research, presentations, projects and much more.
Support and resource assistance programs for firefighters and family members that are stricken by cancer.