US Fire Administration call on firefighters to join national registry

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The US Fire Administration has called on firefighters to join the National Firefighter Registry (NFR) in order to help researchers better understand how their work affects the risk of getting cancer and how to lower this risk.

According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research, cancer is a leading cause of death among firefighters, and research suggests firefighters are at higher risk for certain types of cancers when compared to the general population.

Some of the data requested for an NFR profile includes name, date of birth, and information about work, exposures, health and lifestyle.

When cancer diagnoses are found in state cancer registries, NIOSH researchers will match NFR profiles and work histories to the state registries. They will then seek to gather work history records from fire departments to better understand the firefighters’ exposures and how they may be related to cancer over time.

Any cancer diagnosis information that is linked to an NFR participant is protected by the same safeguards as the other NFR data, including by an Assurance of Confidentiality.

The more firefighters who sign up for the registry through its secure web portal, the more information researchers will have to learn about cancer in the fire service and how to protect firefighters from developing cancer in the line of duty. The registry will also help pave the way for new health and safety measures to keep firefighters safe and improve understanding of cancer risk among minority, female, volunteer and wildland firefighters.

Eriks Gabliks, Superintendent, NFA, commented: “The NFR is a critically important initiative in the fight against firefighter cancer, so at the National Fire Academy (NFA), we’ll be offering information about the registry to all who attend our on-campus courses, and we’ll encourage students to register.”

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