United Front Against Cancer: IAFF Partners with Firefighter Cancer Support Network to Raise Awareness
By FREMS Division Erin Ward
January 23, 2024

In a powerful alliance aimed at addressing a critical issue faced by our modern-day heroes, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) joined forces with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) and designated January as Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month. Together, they are working tirelessly to raise awareness about the heightened risk firefighters face in developing cancer due to their exposure to hazardous elements.

Firefighters, while valiantly battling flames and saving lives, are exposed to a myriad of toxic substances. The combustion of materials in fires releases harmful carcinogens such as benzene, formaldehyde, and asbestos. Studies have consistently shown that this exposure significantly increases the risk of firefighters developing various types of cancer. In 2023, 72% of IAFF member line-of-duty deaths were due to occupational cancer. In fact, research indicates that firefighters have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as lung, mesothelioma, and bladder cancer. The very nature of their noble profession puts them in direct contact with harmful agents, emphasizing the need for awareness and support.

Let's stand together to raise awareness about the occupational hazards faced by firefighters and advocate for measures to reduce their risk. Supporting initiatives for regular health screenings, advanced protective gear, and research into safer firefighting practices can make a significant impact.

Be sure to visit IWFF for more information and resources.