Firefighters Participate In Cancer Prevention Training

14 Jul Firefighters Participate In Cancer Prevention Training

Fire department

Photo: Gretchen Frazee

FCSN’s Keith Tyson says figherfighters can protect themselves from chemical exposure if they know to take immediate action.

Firefighters from around the state are participating in cancer-prevention training this week in Indianapolis.

Firefighters are regularly exposed to cancer-causing chemicals like benzine, formaldehyde and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons. And cancer is their leading cause of death. Indianapolis Firefighter and cancer survivor Mike Estridge says the health threat was underestimated for years.

“We knew that there was a problem, but we didn’t know how bad the problem was,” Estridge says.

The International Association of Fire Fighters started tracking cause of death in 2002. It reports that 60 percent of firefighters die of cancer. The number could even be higher because the methods for tracking cause of death are incomplete.

The Firefighter Cancer Support Network, FCSN, led the training in Indianapolis and gave firefighters from around the state information about the impact of occupational cancer. FCSN’s Keith Tyson says figherfighters can protect themselves from chemical exposure if they know to take immediate action.

“You go outside of the burning building, you take a quick rinse of your gear, you put the gear into a bag, you put it back on the truck, you go back to the station, you take a shower, you wash the gear,” Tyson says.

FCSN is also pushing for a national registry that would provide a more complete picture of the health threat.

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