Firefighters and Cancer!

To others, firefighters may seem reckless, what with all the charging into flaming buildings to save the helpless people trapped inside. But there is a difference between courage and recklessness. You know how to asses every situation and make rational (and often heroic) decisions. Firefighters are some of the most cautious and calculating professionals there are. Even little mistakes can mean disaster for themselves and others.

But there some dangers that you may not even be aware of. And it’s difficult to defend yourselves from what you don’t know exists. One danger you may not know of is actually cancer.

Cancer may not seem like an occupational hazards you may need to watch for as a firefighter, but it certainly is. In older buildings and homes, builders tended to use a natural mineral called asbestos in dry wall. It was also used in insulation. You see, asbestos is fire-resistant, and was supposed to make a lot of homes safer for a lot of people.

But in the 1970’s we discovered that asbestos is anything but safe. When disturbed and inhaled or ingested, the mineral can cause a deadly cancer called mesothelioma, which invades the lungs or stomach.

Mesothelioma symptoms can include shortness of breath and chest heaviness. Sound familiar? They should. These symptoms are often confused with other more common, more treatable diseases. Even worse, mesothelioma symptoms are latent, often for up to 50 years. By then, the cancer has spread and treatment is either difficult or impossible.

So what should you do? Before you continue to save lives, before you risk your own, find out more about asbestos exposure and the dangers of mesothelioma. Search the web; ask a doctor; visit a library. There are resources designed to provide you with what you need to know.

You won’t let fire slow you down, don’t let asbestos get to you either.

Writing by: Matthew Phillips, Student at the University of Central Florida

Thanks Matt for the great Article…….Really hits home!

welcome to the jumpseat!