Tips for Firefighters
Preventing Cancer in the Fire Service
11 Actions you can take:
Numerous studies have shown that firefighters are at increased risk of many types of cancer. The Firefighter Cancer Support Network released a white paper in 2013 on cancer in the fire service and what firefighters can do to prevent it. The paper included 11 immediate actions you can take to protect yourself against cancer. Find additional resources for taking action against cancer in the fire service from FCSN and the NVFC.
11 Immediate Actions to Protect Against Cancer
- 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.)
- Do gross field decon of PPE to remove as much soot and particulates as possible.
- 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.
- Change your clothes and wash them immediately after a fire.
- Shower thoroughly after a fire.
- Clean your PPE, gloves, hood and helmet immediately after a fire.
- Do not take contaminated clothes or PPE home or store it in your vehicle.
- Decon fire apparatus interior after fires.
- Keep bunker gear out of living and sleeping quarters.
- Stop using tobacco products.
- Use sunscreen or sun block.
The importance of annual medical examinations cannot be overstated — early detection and early treatment are essential to increasing survival.
*Source: Firefighter Cancer Support Network