HONOLULU (KHON2) — So many keiki want to be a firefighter when they grow up. Firefighters provide a great deal of protection that many of us never think of. From water and land rescues to vehicle accidents and of course fires, firefighters are usually front and center for the action.

What few of think about are the physical health issues that arise from being the hero.

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According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, occupational cancer is the leading cause of death amongst firefighters.

FCSN has joined forces with the International Association of Fire Fighters to bring awareness and support for those who work tirelessly to protect our communities.

In order to reduce the impact of cancer on firefighters, these two agencies are targeting education, resources and best practices during Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month.

“Cancer is the leading cause of death among fire fighters, accounting for more than 74 percent of the line-of-duty deaths added to the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Wall of Honor each year,” says IAFF General President Edward Kelly.

“We must educate ourselves and do everything we can to extinguish cancer from the fire service. Together, the IAFF and FCSN are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to keep fire fighters healthy on and off the job,” added Kelly.

Safety stand downs, factsheets, podcasts, survivor stories and training briefs are a part of the agenda for the month-long campaign. With these materials, the focus is on the scope of the cancer problem, prevention, best practices, survivorship, leadership tactics to encourage prevention and skills to help departments reduce their risk of occupational cancer.

“As we continue to learn more about the link between firefighting and cancer, it is more important than ever that we take steps to minimize the risk fire fighters face every single day,” says FCSN CEO Bryan Frieders.

“The science around fire fighter exposures is constantly changing; but with continued research, we learn more and more and are better equipped to introduce prevention practices to reduce our risk of developing occupational cancer,” explained Frieders.

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These resources will be provided and reinforced by online resources that will explain daily training information and infographics. These promote the program on social media and podcasts and address the important issues, topics and latest research.