The first thing that went through my head when the doctor said I had cancer was that I’m gonna die. ~Boston Firefighter
I know that feeling. It’s the same thought that I had when I was told I had cancer, both times. I’ve battled cancer twice in the last 15 years, and so far, I’m still winning. I have a rare type of cancer that fights the gastrointestinal system. I don’t know if it’s work related, but I can’t imagine all those years of breathing smoke didn’t take some kind of toll on me.
There is a silent killer stalking us. It’s soundless and travels hidden all around the fire scene, and its deadly exposure is killing us. It’s been hiding in the shadows for years, but it’s worse now. State-of-the-art building materials designed to prevent flame spread and modern furnishings are giving off dangerous carcinogens. Our chronic exposure to heat, smoke, and toxins is what’s causing cancer to us. At a fire, we don’t think about what we’re breathing or absorbing into our bodies. We should.
This is serious and we must take whatever actions we can, right now, to do the things we need to do to protect ourselves from this silent and deadly killer. Wear your masks, clean your gear. Change those old bad habits, be aware, and look out for each other. It won’t be easy, but we need to be willing to do whatever it takes!