This week all Zionsville Fire Department (ZFD) crews across three shifts participated in a cancer awareness presentation from the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). The presentation included tips such as wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) through the end of the incident, completing gross decontamination on the fireground, using wet wipes to clean as much soot from your skin as possible while in rehab and cleaning up upon return to the firehouse.
According to FCSN, firefighters have a 68% greater risk of being diagnosed with cancer than the general population due to exposure to carcinogenic toxins that are present in fire smoke. Lieutenant Steve Hayes believes an important part of preventing cancer in the fire service is learning about it.
“It is the responsibility of each firefighter to take action to reduce their risk of exposure,” said Lieutenant Steve Hayes. “ZFD has taken steps to reduce our risk as well by providing fire gear storage away from the apparatus bay, implementing a fireground decontamination policy and elimination of AFFF foam that contains carcinogenic PFAS chemicals. We owe it to our families, our brothers and sisters and future ZFD firefighters to focus on a cultural change that allows the opportunity to enjoy a long healthy fire service career and a healthy retirement enjoying quality time with family.”