The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion Tuesday introduced by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn dedicating January as Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month in LA County.
The motion was catalyzed by research that shows firefighters are more likely to be diagnosed with certain types of cancer than the general public.
“Ensuring the health and well-being of our County’s firefighters is one of my top priorities so we can keep our communities safe,” said Barger. “The heart of this motion is about reducing cancer among firefighters by delivering targeted education and extending support to those navigating a cancer diagnosis. I’m hopeful the firefighting agencies in our County will join this month-long campaign to focus on prevention and mitigation. There is no doubt that this effort will increase awareness and save lives.
“Our firefighters go to work every day willing to put their lives on the line to save others,” said Hahn. “They rush into burning buildings and risk their own safety amid disasters. But increased cancer risk is a heartbreaking tragedy they did not sign up for. This month, it is our obligation to not only raise awareness of cancer among firefighters but support our firefighters and their families who are dealing with cancer diagnosis.”
Bryan Frieders, president of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and the city of Pasadena’s retired fire chief, shared his perspective.
“Firefighter cancer is the leading cause of line of duty deaths in the fire service,” Frieders said. “This motion is a major and historic milestone for the County of Los Angeles and will serve to promote the necessary tools and guidance to develop lifesaving protocols for cancer prevention and support to firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer. The Firefighter Cancer Support Network extends their deepest gratitude and appreciation to Supervisor Barger, Supervisor Hahn and the entire County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors for their action today [Tuesday].”