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Cancer Awareness Education

Training, education and recognition of the epidemic of cancer in the fire service has been a goal of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network for many years.  It is imperative that new generations of fire fighters are made aware of how large and impactful this problem is.  The following is a list of the highlights that are taught during these cancer awareness outreach classes.  This curriculum should be taught at every recruit school and annually at every fire department.  WAC 296.62 also requires an awareness of the hazards of carcinogens on the job and annual refresher training is required prior to entering any live fire training scenario or actual fire scenario.

  • Carcinogenic hazards of chemicals encountered on the fireground including local and systemic toxicity
  • Benefits of personal wellness efforts including exercise, nutrition and annual physicals
  • The most common types of cancer in the fire service that fire fighters are more likely to develop than the general population: multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, esophageal cancer, brain cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and testicular cancer
  • Supporting research and findings demonstrating the scope of cancer in the fire service
  • Laws and standards applicable in the specific state and jurisdiction regarding cancer in the fire service
  • Common materials that pose a risk to fire fighters
  • Methods of reducing exposures to carcinogens at incident scenes
  • Benefits of Gross Decontamination, such as hand, face and neck washing on scene
  • Methods for cleaning turnouts and self after an incident
  • Methods of documentation of exposures after an incident
  • Education on exposures and cancer risks before any training or incidents that have the potential to expose fire fighters to known carcinogens, asphyxiates, poisons, irritants and allergens
  • Provision of all appropriate PPE to minimize exposures
  • Requirements to use all appropriate PPE to minimize exposures
  • All staff that participate in the training of fire fighters should conform to the practices listed in this document