CANCER RATES IN FIREFIGHTERS SOAR AND THE NATIONAL COALITION OF FRONTLINE WORKERS FOUNDATION VOWS TO GIVE EVERY FIREHOUSE IN THE UNITED STATES THE BASIC EQUIPMENT NEEDED TO REDUCE FIREFIGHTER RISK NATIONAL CANCER REDUCTION/PREVENTION INITIATIVE LAUNCHES IN PENNSYLVANIA
Harrisburg, PA, January 3, 2023
The National Coalition of Frontline Workers Foundation (NCFWF) is an approved 501(c)3 organization that is taking to the frontlines to minimize the risk of frontline workers across the United States of contracting cancers related to the performance of their duty to protect and serve their community. Cancer is currently the most dangerous threat to firefighter health and safety. Although great strides have been taken for career fire departments throughout the United States to help mitigate the risks of cancer associated to the job, the largest percentage of firefighters (volunteers) do not have access or have limited access to the same protections. The National Coalition of Frontline Workers Foundation recognizes this increased risk for certain portions of our frontline worker community and commits the resources to bridge the gap for firefighter health and wellness so that every firefighter in the United States has easy access to basic equipment and education to help reduce their risk and the risk of their family of contracting cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) firefighters have a 9% higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer than the general United States population. In a recent review (2022) of the scientific evidence by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), firefighting has been classified as “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1). With this information becoming more reliable and available the National Coalition of Frontline Workers Foundation will immediately begin deploying decontamination kits along with education seminars to volunteer and career fire departments in need across Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania currently has the most registered fire departments per state in the United States with 1799 departments as of January 2022. Of the 1799 fire departments registered in the state of Pennsylvania 90.1% are volunteer departments. From a statistical standpoint this makes firefighters in Pennsylvania the largest group of effected firefighters. On scene post fire gross decontamination has shown a median reduction of 85% of fire ground contaminates from firefighters’ personal protective equipment. Understanding the financial challenges of fire departments across the country it is the belief and commitment of the National Coalition of Frontline Worker Foundation that providing departments with the equipment needed to remove contaminates will absolutely lessen the risk of job-related cancer for firefighters. In addition to providing equipment free of charge the National Coalition of Frontline Workers Foundation will work hand in hand with fire departments to provide supplemental training and policy implementation assistance to ensure that the firefighters protecting their community can continue to do so for years to come. This initiative will be rolled out in Pennsylvania beginning in February of 2023 with a goal of moving to the top ten highest effected areas of the United States by October of 2023. This initiative has a three-year goal of providing decontamination kits to all 52,000 fire stations in the United States. In addition to providing the initial decontamination kits to fire departments this initiative will offer restocking of supplies as needed to ensure that firefighters always have what they need to help reduce the risk of cancer and improve the overall heath and wellness of firefighters. In partnership with the National Coalition of Frontline Workers 501(c)5, the Firefighter Cancer Reduction initiative will also include a legislative element that will work to improve protections and access to critical items including line of duty death benefits, healthcare, and equipment as it relates to cancer prevention and awareness for all fire/rescue personnel.
CONTACT: Jason Collins
National Fire Department Registry Summary (fema.gov)
IARC Monographs evaluate the carcinogenicity of occupational exposure as a firefighter (who.int)
Firefighter Cancer Rates: The Facts from NIOSH Research | Blogs | CDC