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January marks Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month

The International Association of Fire Fighters and Firefighter Cancer Support Network are traveling across the world and Central Texas to bring awareness.

CENTRAL, Texas — As many are ringing in the new year, making resolutions and preparing for tax season, a local fire fighter organization is bringing in the new year educating people on firefighters.

January marks Firefighter Cancer Awareness month. A new report from the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, showed that occupational cancer is now the leading cause of death among first responders. However, the International Association of Fire fighters and FCSN are teaming up to reverse this trend and save lives.

As a firefighter, you deal with all types of fires that expose you to dangerous carcinogens that is hard for them to get around according to VP for FCSN, Russell Osgood.

"Structural fires, wildfires, vehicle fires, you name it we're getting exposed to a lot of different compounds," said Osgood. "We need to have programs in place that will protect us to the most degree that we can but its's always going to be inherent risk to firefighting."

This is what leads to more firefighters dying from cancer. Texas State Director at FCSN, Curtis Dunn stating, "So out of 469, 348 firefighters had died of cancer." 

While saving lives it can be deadly for firefighters and has been. This is where IAFF and FCSN's training comes into play addressing risk factors, early detection, cultural changes to the industry and more. Even made headway in Texas.

"So now every firefighter in the state of Texas by the end of 2024 have to have our awareness and prevention class," said Dunn.

Both retired firefighters, they wish they had some of the knowledge that they're spreading now, in the beginning of their careers.

You can choose online or in-person but having taking this education with firefighters in the new year will save their lives.

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