Brothers and sisters,
January is Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month. Tragically, IAFF members are constantly exposed to carcinogens on the job that make us far more likely to get sick or die from cancer than the average person.
Since the IAFF and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network launched the inaugural Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month in January 2021, our message has spread across the globe. Our collective voices are beginning to be heard, and we must keep at it. We are in a life and death battle.
In 2022, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared firefighting – our profession – a Group 1 threat, its most dangerous classification. Shortly after, the IAFF and the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs issued a joint safety advisory warning of the adverse health risks in today’s bunker gear.
Last January, I shared your IAFF Executive Board’s decision to retain three world-renowned toxic tort law firms to assist our efforts to end fire fighter cancer and remove PFAS from use in the fire service.
This summer, Canada enacted historic legislation establishing a national framework for addressing fire fighter occupational cancer, including proclaiming January as Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month in Canada.
We all know that any call could be our last. But that does not mean we should not strive to make a dangerous job safer. In fact, that is the IAFF's mission.
Presumptive coverage for cancer-related illnesses and deaths in the U.S. and Canada continues to grow at a rapid pace as we work to get members the medical care and benefits they deserve. The IAFF is fighting to require the removal of toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” from the PPE that is supposed to be designed to protect us. We are working with scientists, physicians, politicians, and environmentalists to develop independent research to study the connection between fire fighters and cancer.
Everyone shares in the obligation to care for public servants who dedicate their lives to protecting others. As members of the IAFF, that means doing everything we can to make the job safe – for our fallen, for the fire fighters of today, and for the generations to follow.
Get involved in Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month. Share our resources with your department and your communities. Together, let's end cancer in the fire service.
Be You. Be Strong. Be Fire Fighters.
Edward A. Kelly
February 29, 2024
Action CenterIAFF Foundation
When disasters strike, IAFF members are on the frontlines helping citizens in their communities around the clock with no time check on their homes and families. When fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and civil disturbances occur, the IAFF Foundation provides assistance and resources, including peer support, to help impacted members get back on their feet. The Foundation’s Disaster Relief program provides immediate financial relief to members whose homes are destroyed or severely damaged by disaster.Firefighter Cancer Support Network
A network of support to assist firefighters and EMS providers and their immediate families diagnosed with cancer by providing badge to badge support, training and guidance.Contact My Elected Representatives