Week 4: Leadership, Survivorship and Culture Change

Week 4: Leadership, Survivorship and Culture Change

Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month is nearing the end, but the work does not stop when January is over! Week four helps guide you through how to support your fellow brothers and sisters who have been diagnosed with cancer and provide resources to assist with organizational culture change that favors cancer prevention practices and how to get support from leadership.

Week four includes two separate sections of information: one for Leadership and Survivorship, and one for Culture Change. Social media infographics for both sections can be found at the bottom.

To get the most from this week, we recommend taking one day this week and conduct a Safety Stand Down. All resources are also available to review at your convenience.

Leadership and Survivorship 

  • Personal Story: “When I Retire” (4:00 minute runtime)
    Boston Fire Department recruits talk about their future. 
  • FCSN White PaperFCSN’s widely hailed 2013 white paper, “Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service,” provides lifesaving details about recognizing and reducing firefighters’ cancer risks. It includes 11 immediate actions that firefighters should take to protect themselves, their families, and their fellow firefighters. 

  • Research Paper: 
    • Cancer Incidence Among Firefighters: 45 Years of Follow-Up in Five Nordic Countries 
      The five Nordic countries that participated in this project were Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. They studied 16,422 fire fighters and found elevated cancer rates for seven types of cancers. Some of these associations have been observed previously, and it was found that exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, asbestos and shiftwork involving disruption of circadian rhythms may partly explain these results. Although this specific research project was focused on predominantly white male fire fighters, there is a need and a plan to include research for a diversified workforce. This includes and identifies a variety of risks and challenges for diverse ethnic groups and female fire fighters.  
  • Educational Presentation #4:
    • Survivorship (Updated for 2023) A 17-slide presentation that shares specific strategies for supporting a fire fighter who has been diagnosed with cancer. 

Note: Make sure you view the presentation in “presenter mode” to capture the instructor notes for the slides. 

  • Video Resources:
  • Leadership/Survivorship:
    • University of Miami Survivorship Application
      This website and application requires that you to register an email address for access to the dashboard that has a comprehensive list of resources for navigating the journey of a cancer diagnosis. 
    • FCSN SurvivorshipSince our founding in 2005, FCSN has been all about providing assistance and support to cancer-stricken firefighters and their families.

    • The FCSN Mission: To assist firefighters and EMS providers and their immediate families diagnosed with cancer by providing badge to badge support, training and guidance.

    • FCSN Vision: To be the global leader in firefighter cancer support, awareness and education. 

Culture Change:

  • Cancer Prevention Video: Firefighter Cancer Initiative: “Clean Your Gear” (6-minute runtime). 
    Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center of Miami and the Firefighter Cancer Initiative highlight the importance of cleaning all PPE to reduce your exposure to harmful carcinogens.
  • National Firefighter Registry Informational Video (NEW)
    The National Firefighter Registry (NFR) will be used to track and analyze cancer trends and risk factors among the U.S. fire service to help the public safety community, researchers, scientists and medical professionals find better ways to protect those who protect our communities and environment.
    • All fire fighters — structural and wildland,career and volunteer, active and retired — should consider participating in the NFR. This includes fire fighters who have never received a cancer diagnosis, previously had cancer or currently have cancer. 
  • Research:
  • Educational Presentation #5:
    • Culture Change (UPDATED for 2023)
      A 16-slide presentation describing the reason a culture change is needed for fire fighter health, safety and cancer prevention. 

Note: Make sure you view the presentation in “presenter mode” to capture the instructor notes for the slides. 

Podcast 4: Cancer Resources for Fire Fighters

Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN)’s Chief Operations Officer Joe Schumacher and the American Cancer Society (ACS) Senior Director of Field Corporate Strategy and Operations Kim Bruna highlight the cancer resources available for fire fighters through their partnerships with the IAFF. They highlight online resources, hotlines, and support services both organizations offer, and how those who are diagnosed with cancer or know someone who is diagnosed can access those resources.

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If you are in need of help, FCSN is ready to assist you any way we can during this challenging period in your life.