Firefighters suffer higher cancer rates
Research at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has revealed that firefighters suffer much higher cancer rates than the general population.
This supports the World Health Organisation’s 2022 findings that firefighting work is carcinogenic.
In 2022 the Fire Brigade Union launched its campaign called DECON: To Protect and Prevent. This was in response to research by Professor Anna Stec from UCLan which found that 75% of firefighters were not aware of the dangers of contaminants in fires and had not received adequate training on the issue. The DECON campaign provides resources and training on how firefighters can reduce exposure to toxic effluents from fires.
The new research, also carried out by Professor Stec and her team, has increased concern by the FBU. The research found that contaminants in fires can cause death in firefighters from cancer, strokes, heart attacks and other diseases. The Fire Brigades Union wants several measures to protect its members. More health monitoring of both serving and retired firefighters is needed. Effective PPE (personal protective equipment) and workwear are required for all personnel employed by fire services. The union wants legislation that ensures firefighters are protected and given compensation for job-related diseases.
The General Secretary of the FBU, Matt Wrack wrote:
”We will now take our demands to Ministers, CFOs, and employers and urge all members to attend branch meetings and read all circulars to stay informed on the next steps in the union’s FBU DECON campaign.”
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