Fighting fires is a dangerous profession, and the danger goes beyond the hazards of running into a burning building.
Numerous studies show that firefighters’ exposure on the fireground, where smoke and hazardous chemicals are released from burning materials, may increase their risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. While the association between firefighting and disease seems clear, more information about these health risks is needed—especially with regard to the higher risk of cancer among firefighters.
To better understand the link between on-the-job exposure to toxicants and cancer, Congress directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create the National Firefighter Registry (NFR).
The NFR will be used to track and analyze cancer trends and risk factors among the U.S. fire service to help the public safety community, researchers, scientists and medical professionals find better ways to protect those who protect our communities and environment.
All firefighters—structural and wildland, career and volunteer, active and retired—should consider participating in the NFR. This includes firefighters who have never received a cancer diagnosis, previously had cancer, or currently have cancer.
Participation in the National Firefighter Registry is voluntary. But by providing vital information about their own health and work experiences, firefighters who register for the NFR will play a critical role in helping to better understand the health risks this profession faces.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), working closely with stakeholders and health experts, will take the lead on creating the National Firefighter Registry.
If you have questions, E-mail NFRegistry@cdc.gov.