August 15, 2013: Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service"
Posted On: Aug 15, 2013
Volume 40, August 2013
Happy Birthday Fire Fighter Near-Miss! Monday August 12th was the 8th anniversary of our original launch date. While we have had many ups and downs over our past eight years, we are excited for the changes that are coming in order to better serve you.
The Firefighter Cancer Support Network recently released a white paper entitled "Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service" that is the result of a combined effort from fire service professionals as well as medical, social, and legal researchers. We highly recommend this important report and urge you to read it. This white paper highlights a crucial fact: there is credible, validated and scientific evidence that fire fighters have statistically higher rates of multiple types of cancers compared to the general American population. While cancer screenings and annual physicals may not be thought of as 'near-misses', they can, in fact, be exactly that. Until further research is conducted on the many causes of cancer in the firefighting community, regular screening and preventative strategies can be the "break in a chain of events" that allows illness and death to be avoided. The National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System includes reports from fellow firefighters that discuss the importance of thorough medical screenings which can help discover cancers, cardiac related illnesses, and other serious medical concerns.
Temperatures and extreme weather conditions typically peak in the month of August. This month's featured report deals with heat related illnesses. In this report, a firefighter suffers from heat exhaustion after responding to a fire in an auto repair shop. It highlights the importance of staying aware of the cues one's body gives when responding to an incident but also the importance of having policies, procedures and resources in place and implemented to ensure proper rehabilitation when responding to events. The resources below highlight a few resources available to help learn about and prevent heat related illnesses and injuries.
The National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System is at Fire-Rescue International August 13-17 in Chicago, IL. Please stop by the International Association of Fire Chiefs Pavilion (Booth #2649) to learn more about the Near-Miss Reporting System and what to expect for 2014. An FRI app (for iPad, iPhone, and Droid) has been developed to help navigate the conference and connect with other participants.
Recalibrate how you think about "Near-Misses." Near-Miss reports don't only have to record "what went wrong", they can also highlight best practices that allowed for an injury or fatality to be avoided.
"We all get complacent and think it could never happen to me! The Near-Miss Reporting Systems helps open all our eyes to the dangers that are inherent with the job."
-Asst. Fire Chief Jim Foley, Deer Isle Fire Department (ME)
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