Injuries and Illness, Personnel Safety

Campaign Stresses Firefighter Cancer Prevention

A new national campaign to increase awareness about firefighter cancer is calling on firefighters to sign a pledge of safety.

The campaign, Not in Our House ( was created by LION, a leading provider of firefighter gear, with the cooperation of a number of fire protection organizations. It asks firefighters to make every effort to protect themselves, their teams, and their families from carcinogens on the job. The site provides resources, information, and an outlet to share personal firefighter cancer stories.

Notes Billy Goldfeder, deputy chief of an Ohio fire department, “Historically, dirty gear, and not using your protective self-contained breathing apparatus was a badge of honor. We didn’t know we were at risk, but wow, we definitely know now, as cancer is the number one killer of firefighters.”

According to LION, since 2002, more than 60 percent of career firefighters added to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial have died from cancer. Firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of being diagnosed and a 14 percent higher risk of dying with cancer than the general U.S. population. And while fire-related calls have dropped, deaths from cancer have increased, LION says. Culprits include synthetic building materials such as furniture and paint, which, when burned, can cause cancer.

The Not in Our House pledge reads, “I will make every effort to protect myself and my team by doing my part to take precautions that will minimize the risk of exposure to carcinogens that may lead to cancer. This pledge is to honor all those who have come before, as well as those who will come after me.”