Clearwater, Fla. – The International Association of Fire Chiefs’ (IAFC) Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) announced it will commit $5,000 to the nonprofit Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN).
“Cancer is one of the most critical challenges faced by emergency-service organizations,” said VCOS Chairman Timothy S. Wall, chief of the North Farms (Conn.) Volunteer Fire Department. “VCOS is committed to helping FCSN deliver its vital cancer support and education programs to volunteer and combination departments.”
Cancer is a looming personal catastrophe for every firefighter; it has become the most dangerous threat to the health and safety of America’s firefighters. Multiple studies, including a joint U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) cancer study released in 2013, have repeatedly illustrated higher rates of multiple types of cancers in firefighters compared to the general American population.
FCSN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by Los Angeles County Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Dubron, a survivor of stage IV colon cancer. Today, FCSN’s objective is to provide timely assistance to all fire and EMS personnel and their family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. FCSN offers unique expertise through its national network of peer-support mentors. FCSN also delivers firefighter cancer awareness, prevention and early detection programs nationwide.
“The generous donation from VCOS will help FCSN continue to expand our national firefighter cancer awareness and prevention initiatives,” said FCSN President Bryan Frieders, a division chief with the San Gabriel (Calif.) Fire Department. “Our goal is to measurably change firefighter behavior and decision-making regarding line-of-duty exposure to carcinogens.” FCSN’s 2013 white paper, “Taking Action Against Cancer in the Fire Service,” provides lifesaving details about recognizing and reducing firefighters’ cancer risks. It’s available as a free download from FirefighterCancerSupport.org.
FCSN Treasurer Trey Kelso, immediate past fire chief for the Laurel (Md.) Volunteer Fire Department, serves as FCSN’s liaison to VCOS.
VCOS made the announcement during its sold-out “Symposium in the Sun” event, which includes three days of fire-service leadership training, education and exhibits. This year VCOS marks its 20th anniversary of helping communities and their fire and emergency service leaders create and maintain dynamic organizations.
About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders. Learn more