Cancer is a leading cause of death among firefighters, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Firefighters can be exposed to carcinogens when they respond to a fire, and the risk of developing cancer increases with each exposure. NIOSH recommends that firefighters take steps to protect themselves from cancer-causing agents, including wearing personal protective equipment and using engineering controls to reduce exposure.
In 2018, the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Volunteer and Combination Officers Section (VCOS) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) published the Lavender Ribbon Report, a summary of best practices firefighters and fire departments can take to help prevent cancer.
The Lavender Ribbon Report is an important resource for firefighters looking to prevent cancer. The report was updated in September of 2021 to include personal stories as well as examples of how fire departments are implementing best practices. Some of the best practices that are highlighted in the report include using protective gear, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and getting regular cancer screenings. By following these best practices, firefighters can greatly reduce their risk of developing cancer.
For more information
Visit the NVFC’s web site for more cancer risk reduction resources. You’ll find the original Lavender Ribbon Report, the 2021 Lavender Ribbon Report Update, awareness posters and more.