Boston Fire has just released a powerful new video highlighting, yet again, the devastating impact that contamination and cancer is having within the fire service. The video is the third in a series to educate firefighters, policymakers and the general public about the toll that cancer is taking in firehouses around the globe.
The new piece offers a heartbreaking snapshot of Boston firefighter Glenn Preston’s contamination and cancer journey as part of BFD’s aggressive Take No Smoke campaign. Preston, a father of four children under the age of 10, is in the battle of his life – and sharing his story so that his peers are protected from occupational exposure and the hardship that the Prestons are enduring. NFPA Journal featured a story on the 40-year old firefighter this spring.
NFPA has shared many of BFD’s efforts to raise awareness about occupational exposure including their initial video showing the number of Boston firefighters that have been stricken with the deadly disease, a follow-up contamination-prevention clip, a study with Dana Farber to assess exposure in firehouses, and the department’s commitment to improving overall health and safety. Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn and fellow members of NFPA’s Urban Fire Forum are also doing their part to amplify the issues of contamination and cancer. BFD may be a leader in furthering awareness and education on this topic, but they are certainly not alone in their advocacy. Departments across the nation and organizations like NVFC and the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance are also doing their part to inform others about occupational hazards and best practices.
Contamination and exposure to carcinogens has been a top priority at NFPA for some time. The Fire Protection Research Foundation’s Campaign for Contamination Control just wrapped up; the Foundation and NFPA are involved in other studies that are looking at risk on the fire ground, and harmful toxins in station houses, vehicles, equipment and gear. NFPA has also generated a few safety bulletins as we await scientific data. The NFPA Standards Council will also consider input on a New Project Initiation Request soon. Members of the fire service are seeking an ANSI Accredited Standard to establish minimum requirements for the effective contamination control of fire department personal, their personal protective equipment (PPE), accessories, and equipment. With the December 15 deadline looming, the window for you to weigh in on a proposed contamination control standard is closing. Don’t let that date pass. Remember, your voice matters. Change begins with you.