Fire Service Cancer

Community Resources is an invaluable feature in the TargetSolutions platform with a vast collection of shared training tools and content accessible anytime, anywhere. This virtual library allows departments to create and share helpful documents, videos and other files with agencies across the country.

One video from the Boston Fire Department consists of subject matter that hits close to home for those in the fire service: Cancer.

This video entitled, “Boston Cancer Prevention – Firefighter Cancer Support Network,” features current and former members of the Boston Fire Department and city officials discussing their experiences with fire service cancer.

“The general public thinks ‘oh, it’s a dangerous job’…it’s a dangerous job because we’re running into burning buildings…[but] you’re going to know more people that die of cancer from this job than die from running into a burning building.”

Joseph Adducci, Captain, Boston Fire Department

Defining the Issue

It was found that 67 percent of Boston firefighters will face a cancer diagnosis due to their exposure to cancer-causing chemicals on the fireground and in the firehouse. Dr. Michael Hamrock, MD, former Boston firefighter, explained this issue: “When you show up at a fire building, you expose yourself to these cancer-causing chemicals and every household product now contains flame retardants and when they combust, they give off these dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals that you’ll inhale [and] absorb through the skin.”

Fire Service Cancer Prevention

After shining a light on this crisis, Adducci, Dr. Hamrock and others presented prevention methods to minimize the risk of cancer for firefighters. Measures such as the proper use of equipment, frequent cleaning and an overall healthy lifestyle were emphasized.

To reinforce these methods, TargetSolutions all-new, video-driven course, NFPA 1851 – Cancer-Related Risks of Firefighting, is written according to the 2014 NFPA standard on Selection, Care and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting. This course instructs personnel in best practices for fire service cancer prevention and explains current terminology and legislation as it relates to this occupationally-related disease.

To access this video in Community Resources, go to the Community Resources tab in your TargetSolutions platform and search for the title “Boston Cancer Prevention – Firefighter Cancer Support Network.”