CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Issues Proclamation Recognizing January as Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In recognition of January as Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis issued a proclamation recognizing the increased risk of cancer Florida’s more than 45,000 firefighters face while protecting communities throughout the state. According to a report, firefighters have a 9 percent higher rate of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths compared to the general population.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “The men and women in Florida’s fire service community understand the dangers on the job, whether that is responding to a call or the increased risk of developing cancer. Yet, they show up each day to help keep Floridians safe. As State Fire Marshal, I am committed to ensuring that these heroes have the resources and tools to do the job and the peace of mind that they will be cared for once the safety gear comes off. While we have come a long way in helping these heroes if they face cancer, there is still more work to be done. We must continue to raise awareness in this fight and make sure our firefighters know they will always have our support. God bless these heroes and their families.”
The proclamation can be viewed below and downloaded here.
WHEREAS, cancer is the most dangerous under-recognized threat to the health and safety to our firefighters, and occupational cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service, with a direct correlation of chemical exposures on the job; and
WHEREAS, firefighters have a 9% greater chance of being diagnosed with cancer and 14% greater chance of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population; and
WHEREAS, scientific evidence showing a direct correlation between firefighting and certain cancers steered the 2019 Florida Legislature to enact legislation mandating employer-funded cancer benefits for firefighters; and
WHEREAS, there are over 200 known chemicals and contaminants found in smoke that our firefighters interact with as a routine part of their occupations, which soil their personal protective equipment and everything it comes in contact with, increasing their risk of developing cancer; and
WHEREAS, critical and immediate need for additional protective equipment to help firefighters avoid inhalation and skin exposures to known and suspected occupational carcinogens, lead the Florida Legislature in 2020 to develop the Firefighter Cancer Decontamination Equipment Grant Program to provide financial assistance to help fire departments procure equipment, supplies and educational training; and
WHEREAS, 67% of firefighters recognized on the International Association of Firefighters Memorial Wall have died of cancer between 2002-2020; and
WHEREAS, the noble profession of fire fighting already comes with a myriad of dangerous and life-threatening risks, additional awareness and support for the increased exposure to cancer causing carcinogens is paramount to the safety of those that choose this profession.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal of the State of Florida does hereby recognize January 2022 as FIREFIGHTER CANCER AWARENESS MONTH to help provide firefighters the necessary tools and guidance to develop life-saving protocols for cancer prevention and to support those with a cancer diagnosis. Brining increased public awareness to the danger firefighters face day-to-day being exposed to cancer causing carcinogens.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF the Chief Financial Officer of the State of Florida has hereunto subscribed his name and has caused the Official Seal of the State of Florida to be hereunto affixed in the City of Tallahassee on the 10th day of January 2022.