“REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE: IT’S EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY” is the theme of the 2019 Safety Stand Down campaign. Each year, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) orchestrate a week-long awareness program to focus on significant issues within the first responder community. This year’s efforts will highlight critical decontamination protocols, research related to cancer in the fire service, and share resources that will help to inform the nation’s 1.3 million firefighters about carcinogens and other hazards.
Since its beginnings in 2014, Safety Stand Down has been embraced by more than 20 national and international fire and emergency-service organizations, including NFPA who hosts an online campaign quiz to elevate campaign awareness and engage the fire service.
According to a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report on firefighter cancer, firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnosis, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population of the U.S. These numbers underscore the issue of occupational exposure and confirm the importance of providing first responders with recent and relevant resources that will keep them safer from harm.
All fire and emergency service departments across the country will dedicate the week of June 16-22 to training, discussing, and performing drills so that firefighters are aware of contamination, cancer and other health issues associated with the toxins produced during firefighting operations, including kidney and liver disorders, neurodevelopmental effects, decreased fertility, respiratory disease, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease.