Cancer Smart at CFR
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), firefighters are much more likely to develop digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers, as well as malignant mesothelioma - a rare type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. This increase of cancer is directly linked to increased exposure to fire and its by-products.
At Comox Fire Rescue, we are constantly taking steps to minimize these risks. Earlier this year we issued all of our members a second balaclava. After a fire, members can immediately put their balaclava in a bin to be laundered and wear their spare. Now we've taken it a step further and set up a rack of complete sets of spare turnout gear.
Gear worn into a fire can be immediately taken out of service and spare gear worn while the soiled gear is being laundered.
Chief Schreiner states: “Firefighter cancer prevention is now a vital component of fire services. We have taken several steps to reduce our firefighters exposure to products that increase the chance of getting a cancer. Making replacement gear available is one of those steps.”