Fall River Firefighters have asked, and received, decontamination kits and specially-designed washing machines to remove carcinogens as various forms of cancers continue to take the lives of retired fire professionals.
The Head of the IAFF Local 13-14 representing Fall River Firefighters is Jason Burns and he asked for funding. He said sixty-one percent of firefighters lose their lives to different forms of cancer.
"Early prevention is the key,” Burns said. “That is the other level of what we are doing here. You will save lives if you catch the cancer early.”
Burns knows this is something that comes with the territory of the job.
“It's bound to happen in our job,” he said. “It's a part of what it is. I'm not here singing you a sad song. I get it, cancer is part of it. But if we can do anything as a group here to prevent it, catch it early and keep people alive we have to so I'm asking for your support."
Burns explained what exactly funds will go to including an interesting cancer-screening process involving dogs.
"The cancer-screening process sounds hoaky because it's a dog screening process but it has a ninety-four percent accuracy rate,” he said. “So, we breathe into masks for fifteen minutes and send it back to them.”
In some cases, the animals can find early signs before human blood tests
“They have a series of dogs trained to sniff out what could be a sign of cancer,” Burns said. “Sometimes, they hit on precancerous cells before even a doctor with a blood test can tell."