Lincoln Fire and Rescue promotes firefighter cancer awareness month

LFR promotes firefighter cancer awareness month for January.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 11:30 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - January is firefighter cancer awareness month. Lincoln Fire and Rescue crews put their lives on the line while dousing flames or checking out gas leaks. But, one of the hidden risks of the job is the inhalation and ingestion of carcinogens and toxins that are leading causes of cancer in the profession.

Last year at the National Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, 469 names were added to the list of fallen firefighters. Seventy-five percent of those deaths were cancer caused by the occupation.

Over the years, LFR has worked to make the workspace safer and healthier for its fire crews day in and day out.

“We work hard on decontamination and some other things that we didn’t used to do. it used to be really cool to wear dirty gear and we don’t do that anymore we change out of our gear after every fire,” Adam Schrunk, President of the Lincoln Firefighters Association said.

Schrunk said in the past it was “cool” to wear dirty gear after returning from a fire. After it became known that dirty gear can release carcinogens they began to make some changes. One of those changes is having crews immediately remove their outer layer of gear before returning to the station. Instead of taking a bucket of soap and water to wash their clothes like they used to. LFR now uses a professional cleaning company to wash the gear.