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This week’s Fire Engineering Google Hang out brought together a wealth of information that firefighters and officers can do today to reduce their risk to cancer. On behalf of Chief Bobby Halton we hosted Tim Elliott and Keith Tyson from the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN).

We had a very lively and spirited discussion surrounding a taboo topic in many firehouses. Every firefighter needs to clearly understand that firefighter cancer is a looming personal catastrophe for each and every one of us. Cancer is the most dangerous and unrecognized threat to the health and safety of our nation’s firefighters. Today’s residential fires have more in common with hazmat events than old-fashioned house fires due to the materials now common in homes.

We discussed the eleven action items you can take today to reduce your risk. These action can be found here - 

I would also highly encourage each of you to visit the FCSN web site at download their white paper and begin taking steps today to reduce your exposure to cancer.

Immediately following the show I made a change in how I care for and transport my assigned personal protective equipment in my department staff car. I took one step in the right direction towards lowering my risk (see photo below). I took one step forward to increase my chances to live a healthy life and long healthy retirement. I took one step forward to making sure I grow old enough to walk my daughter down the aisle. What are you going to do today? What steps are you going to take decrease your risk? Fire Chief’s what are you going to do today to help support and lead your men and women towards reducing their exposure to cancer?

We urge you to make a change today. Start small, there are many steps that don’t negatively impact your budget. There are steps you can take today that don’t cost anything. However, it take courageous leaders to step up and outside of the way we have always done it box!

Regardless if you are a formal or informal leader as Frank Viscusso so eloquently puts it “Step Up and Lead” by taking steps today to reduce your exposure to the most dangerous and unrecognized threat to the health and safety of our nation’s firefighters.

I would encourage each of you reading to take the time and watch Fire Engineering’s Google Hang out from yesterday,  August 26, 2015 today -

Here was the first of many changes I made. What are you going to do today? Are you courageous enough?

Visit the Firefighter Cancer Support Network site today!

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