Firefighter-occupational cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service. In 2019, more than 75% of the names of firefighters added to the IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wall of Honor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, were of members who died from occupational cancer.
In partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) we have designated January as Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month to provide firefighters the necessary tools and guidance to develop life-saving protocols for cancer prevention and to support those with a cancer diagnosis within their departments.
Bringing increased public awareness to occupational cancer in the fire service will help generate greater legislative support for states and provinces to establish presumptive disabilities for all cancers affecting firefighters.
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The content on this website is designed to engage our nation’s firefighters and their fire departments in a mass effort to prevent and reduce their risk of occupational cancer. Our curriculum contains information and tools that educate firefighters and raise awareness about why cancer cases are on the rise in the fire service and how to limit their day-to-day exposures to carcinogens.
Each week of the month focuses on a specific theme. Each theme builds upon the previous week’s theme. By the end of the month, firefighters will have the knowledge and resources to understand how firefighters are exposed to carcinogens, what happens when they are exposed, how to prevent exposures, make culture changes in their department and assist those who are diagnosed with cancer.
- Week 1 (1/4-1/9): Scope of Cancer in the Fire Service
- Week 2 (1/10-1/16): Scientific Research Related to Occupational Cancer
- Week 3 (1/17-1/23): Occupational Cancer Prevention
- Week 4 (1/24-1/31): Survivorship, Leadership and Culture Change
We encourage you to use content from each week to hold weekly a safety stand down in your department. Use the provided tools to engage firefighters in discussions on steps they can take to reduce the risk of occupational cancer.
The resources for each week include informative factsheets, relevant research, ready-to-present PowerPoint presentations, survivor stories of those who want to share what they have learned to affect change, podcasts from industry leadership, and social media graphics. It also includes all the information you need to help your department navigate through the content and focus on topics of interest. In addition to weekly content, 33 training briefs can be used as discussion tools to educate firefighters on reducing the risk of occupational cancer.
At the end of this month we will ask you to take part in a pledge that unites us all together to do everything we can to better protect each other and ourselves from occupational cancer.
Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month takes place in January, but these resources should be used throughout the year. We encourage you to check back frequently for more information about specific topics.