In 2016, 70 percent of firefighter deaths were caused by cancer. When compared to the general population of the U.S., firefighters have a nearly 15 percent higher risk of dying from cancer due to their overexposure to the large number of cancer-causing products of combustion. It is our responsibility to take care of our first responder community the way they selflessly take care of us.
Many cancers in firefighters are linked to the long-term risks from smoke inhalation and exposure to certain chemicals. The Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and I have joined together to help mitigate firefighters’ exposure to these deadly chemicals with Decontamination Kits. More than 4,000 kits are being delivered to over 400 fire departments in Florida that include the tools needed for firefighters to effectively clean their gear after a fire, and ultimately reduce exposure to carcinogens.
Cancer prevalence in firefighters is not up for debate. These kits are one step in the fight against cancer among firefighters. We have to do all we can to make sure our heroes stay healthy and safe.