The Will of a Firefighter | Kevin Wise Shares His Story with Not in Our House

Kevin Wise shares his story with the Not in Our House campaign.  In 2011, I was young, I was tough, and I was in really good shape. I thought I was invincible. After an upper body injury during a swift-water training session, I had noticed that my healing process was slow even after a few months. I went to my doctor for what I thought would be a minor visit, but ended up having a conversation that changed my life. At 39, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma cancer. Maybe it is the firefighter mentality in me, but I wasn’t…

How Drone Technology is Impacting the Fire Service

By Olivia Schwartz  Drones are being leveraged to continue to improve first responder safety. Whether they are used in dangerous search missions, to detect wildfires, or identify potential hazards, drones are a leading fire safety tool of 2017. Search Missions Arizona search and rescue groups have begun using drone technology in dangerous missions. In one instance, they used a drone to find the body of a man who fell off a 500-foot cliff. The drone was used to thoroughly check the area in record time, while putting no human life in danger (Staahl, 2017). 1 Wildfires This past summer, more…

Fire Service Occupational Cancer Symposium

The Fire Service Occupational Alliance was formed to address the issue of cancer with a common voice among the fire service. To do so, the alliance created and held the first Fire Service Occupational Cancer Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona to continue to improve education, prevention measures and support for firefighters and their families affected by cancer. Presentations and workshops covered a variety of topics including current research, prevention strategies, presumptive legislation, and available first responder benefits. LION attended the symposium, and provided Not in Our House resources for attendees to take home. Below, are some of the most relevant facts,…

This is My Life

Mahlon Irish shares his story with the Not in Our House campaign. I’ve been in the fire service for 63 and a half years as a combination of volunteer and career firefighter. I retired in January of 2012 in hopes of enjoying a long retirement. However, that wasn’t to be the case. I was the one who wore my SCBA and purchased the best gear I could because I wanted to protect myself to the best of my knowledge, even before there was a connection between firefighting and cancer. During my annual physical, I mentioned to the doctor that I had hip…

Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out

By Olivia Schwartz Fire Prevention Week’s theme for 2018, “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out” calls all of us to be aware of fire safety measures in the home. Fire Prevention Week started in 1925 when former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed the proclamation recognizing the occasion, and igniting a fire service tradition. The event always falls across the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed more than 17,400 structures across more than 2,000 acres. In result, over 100,000 people were left homeless and more than 250 people loosed their lives This…

Why Clean Gear is Safer Gear

By: Olivia Schwartz Cancer is a life-threatening disease that affects millions of Americans each year. However, this disease affects the men and women who risk their lives for us every day at a higher risk level than the general U.S. population. Firefighters withstand higher chemical exposures on the job, causing them to be at a high risk of digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary system cancers1. According to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), about 60 percent of career firefighters will die of cancer2. Dermal Absorption Rates Dermal (skin) absorption may increase as skin temperature rises.3 PLANTAR FOOT ARCH 1%…

Tell Me Why?

Brian McQueen shares his story with the Not in Our House campaign. It’s been just over three years since I’ve been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s B-Cell Lymphoma. To tell you that my life as a volunteer firefighter has changed is an understatement. My family has suffered along with me through the rigorous treatments and frequent visits to New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which reinforced my belief that every day is a gift from God. Thanks to my wife Sarah, and my fire service family, I’m able to share my story of cancer in the fire service, to influence change…

The Right PPE for Fentanyl Exposure

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin, and 100 times more powerful than morphine, has become a growing concern for first responders. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), opioids continue to be the “most significant contributor to overdose deaths throughout the United States.” 1 With this increase, first responders are faced with taking extra precautions to protect themselves when they enter a call with an opioid exposure risk since Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin via accidental contact, or inadvertently inhaled on emergency overdose calls where Fentanyl is disturbed and particles become airborne. In August…

Validity of Turnout Retirement Age

Author: Dr. Meredith McQuerry, Florida State University Editor: Cassandra Whitley, LION NFPA 1851, Standard on Selection, Care, and Maintenance of Protective Ensembles for Structural Fire Fighting and Proximity Fire Fighting, mandates a retirement age of 10 years from the gear’s manufacture date. Given the differences in use, exposure, care, and storage of each set of bunker gear across the country, firefighters often wonder how valid the 10-year retirement age is. Where did this number come from? How was it determined? Has turnout gear been tested against it? The 10-year rule comes from the time span of two revision cycles for…

Protection is the Best Medicine

Roy Bumgardner, retired firefighter with 26 years of service, and cancer survivor, share’s his story with the Not in Our House campaign. My story begins on Labor Day weekend of 2014. While camping with my wife in a nearby state park, I had a coffee ground textured bowel movement. I immediately knew this meant that I was bleeding from an unknown internal place, but I couldn’t call the doctor until Tuesday due to the holiday. After visiting my doctor and undergoing an endoscopy and colonoscopy, I was informed the doctors found a quarter-sized spot in the lining of my stomach;…