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The American Cancer Society and IAFF Join Forces to Combat Cancer Among Firefighters

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Anthony Raphael
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The American Cancer Society and IAFF Join Forces to Combat Cancer Among Firefighters

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In a significant stride towards combating the alarming rates of cancer among firefighters, the American Cancer Society and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) have joined forces. This collaboration aims to deliver targeted education and best practices to prevent and reduce cancer among firefighters, emphasizing early detection and regular screenings.

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Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month

The partnership has led to the designation of January as Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month. This initiative, in conjunction with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, aims to provide tools, resources, and guidance for cancer prevention. It also offers support to those firefighters who have received a cancer diagnosis within their departments. The first week of the Cancer Awareness Month focuses on best practices to reduce cancer risk at fire stations, offering an array of resources such as videos, checklists, fact sheets, educational presentations, and training briefs.

Addressing the Threat of PFAS and Asbestos

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One of the crucial aspects of this initiative is addressing the risk factors associated with firefighting. One such risk is the exposure to PFAS, the 'forever chemicals,' and asbestos, both of which have been linked to cancer. The partnership seeks to eliminate the threat of these harmful substances by implementing best practices in station design and precautions during firefighting procedures. IAFF's 'Asbestos and Fire Fighters' factsheet offers critical information on exposure routes, health impacts, and preventive strategies against asbestos.

Legislative Efforts to Protect Firefighters

The initiative also involves significant legislative efforts to protect firefighters. The IAFF has backed the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) Act, emphasizing the urgent need for asbestos regulation. It is noteworthy that at the 2023 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, 63% of the names added to the wall were members who had passed away due to occupational cancer. The partnership aims to increase public awareness about occupational cancer in the fire service and generate legislative support for presumptive disabilities for all cancers affecting firefighters.

Community Action and Support

The partnership between the American Cancer Society and the IAFF calls for community action in addressing the occupational hazards firefighters face daily. It also expresses gratitude to the IAFF members for their partnership in prevention. Firefighters and those interested in supporting this cause are encouraged to visit the website or call the provided hotline number for further information and resources. This collaboration underlines the importance of education, assistance, and resources for firefighters navigating an occupational cancer diagnosis, ultimately aiming to eradicate cancer in the fire service.

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