Exploring Fire Department Cancer Prevention Initiatives

National Firefighter Registry

From the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:

“The National Firefighter Registry (NFR) for Cancer is the largest effort ever undertaken to understand and reduce risk of cancer among U.S. firefighters.

Studies show that firefighters may have a greater risk of some types of cancer due to their exposure to smoke and hazardous chemicals on the fireground. Many of these studies did not include volunteer firefighters or enough female or non-white firefighters to draw conclusions about their cancer risk. The NFR was created to address these knowledge gaps. The NFR will collect information from a large and diverse population of firefighters, with representation from previously understudied groups. Therefore, it will be possible to study cancer risk among different groups of firefighters.”

Lavender Ribbon Report

Cancer is a serious health threat facing today’s firefighters. Studies have shown that firefighters have an increased risk of developing several types of cancers, due to the occupational hazards they face. However, there are steps firefighters can take to protect themselves and their crew.

The National Volunteer Fire Council and International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Volunteer and Combination Officers Section released the Lavender Ribbon Report to present 11 specific actions firefighters need to take to lessen their risk of occupational cancer. Make these standard operating procedures in your department.

The Lavender Ribbon Report Update, released in September 2021, takes things a step further by sharing personal stories, examples of how departments are implementing the best practices, and other information to reinforce the actions firefighters need to take to lessen their exposure risks.

Use these reports in tandem to make yourself, your crew, and your department safer and reduce exposure risks

Additional Resources