Why This Matters
The number one killer of firefighters is Occupational Cancer.
All around the world, firefighters die in the line of duty. Some of these deaths are cardiac related, some are from the structures falling on us, or from us falling through structures. These fatalities are horrific; however, statistics have shown that more often than not, the number one killer of firefighters is Occupational Cancer.
In 2018, the names of 271 firefighters were added to the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Memorial wall in Colorado Springs; 211 of those deaths were from firefighter occupational cancer.
The difference between cancer and these other line of duty deaths is that many times we are already retired when we are diagnosed and succumb to cancer. Cancer has a long latency period; it could be 10, 15, 20 plus years before it shows up. Furthermore, precautions can be taken to prevent an occupational cancer diagnosis.
Protecting Our Greatest Asset
The Cost of Firefighter Occupational Cancer
In 2017, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) asked the RAND Corporation to provide a quantifiable estimated dollar figure on the economic benefit of preventing death and illness related to firefighter occupational cancer. These figures are based off of the findings from the 2013 NIOSH study, where they evaluated the mortality and cancer incidence in a group of firefighters in the US.
The Rand Report refers to six types of cancer. These cancers had significantly higher mortality and incidence amongst Firefighters than the general population according to the 2013 NIOSH Study.
These figures do not include the cost of covering the shifts of firefighters who are undergoing treatment and recovering, nor do they include the expense of hiring/training new members if the sick firefighters are unable to return to work. There are also considerable costs once Workers Compensation, Pension and Line of Duty death benefits are factored into the equation.
Most importantly, one cannot put a price tag on the cost of losing a loved one to firefighter occupational cancer.
How We Can Help
The actions we take early on in our careers have the potential to positively or negatively impact our health in the future. The Firefighter Cancer Consultants strive to help your members have long, healthy careers, as well as the opportunity to enjoy their retirement with their families.
The Firefighter Cancer Consultants work with your department to ensure the department is using the best practices available to reduce your members’ risk of being diagnosed throughout their lifetime with occupational cancer.
Our program can give your members a fighting chance to make it through their career cancer free, as well as help your department reduce costs towards workers compensation claims, health care, life insurance and line of duty payouts.