Bemidji Fire Department Takes Precautions for Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month
January is dedicated as Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month, where leading firefighter organizations designate a month to educate firefighters on how to prevent and survive occupational cancer.
Many may not know that firefighters have a 9% higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and 14% risk of dying from cancer. Approximately 65% of firefighters added between 2002 to 2018 have died from occupational cancer. One thing that can help firefighters combat these risks are frequent trainings from organizations such as the Minnesota Firefighter Initiative.
For Bemidji firefighters returning to the station, they’re strongly encouraged to use what is called an extractor, which decontaminates their gear. Another system that Bemidji Fire Department utilizes is their ventilation system. Also, thanks to grant funding, each of Bemidji’s four stations has a diesel exhaust system.
For the future, Bemidji Fire Chief Justin Sherwood is actively working on providing each firefighter with Particulate Nomex hoods to prevent the saturation of cancer-causing agents.