In today's Firehouse Friday, Michele Lazcano visit the Natick Fire Department where they hare how shocking statistics motivated them to make some changes.
Nearly 67% of firefighters are diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. Natick Fire Chief Rick White explains that firefighters are constantly exposed to carcinogens, raising the risk of some cancers. Lieutenant Daniel Lamme and a group of others began doing research to learn why and how cancer statistics are rising in the fire service.
As a result of their research, the Natick Fire Department has made some important changes to help lessen the risk. Like many departments they use plymovents (exhaust extractors) on the apparatus floor, they are installing garment extractors, and offering wipes for gross contamination on calls. Lt. Lamme explains, "...it's our duty to take care of each other not just on fire calls as well as situations like this [rising cancer statistics in the fire service]."
Recently, the members of the Natick Fire Department sent samples to a lab in Canada where dogs can sniff out pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. While the program is still in testing, results have been very successful. Cancer screenings are essential to detect cancer, and potential cancer, early so that the most effective treatments can be arranged.
The research and education the members of the Natick Fire Department are doing is important. Thank you for all that you are doing and for sharing it with others!
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