Firefighters Are Hoping To See A Change In Their Health

Firefighters are more at risk for cancer than you may think

Firefighters are the ones saving us, but who is saving them?

People’s lives depend on firefighters as they climb ladders, break through windows and crawl through walls to save them when a fire breaks out.

Yet, running into a burning building may not be the most harmful thing to a firefighter.

“When I came through the service, it was a badge of honor to see how dirty your gear could get,” said Rick Loveland with the Moorhead Fire Department.

However, times have changed.

“These days are done,” said Loveland.

From fumes and toxins to black soot within the flames, firefighters have an increased risk of getting cancer.

“We have over 100 firefighters that die every year but there’s far more that die from cancer,” said Chief Rich Duysen with the Moorhead Fire Department.

This is where the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act comes into play.

U.S Senator Amy Klobuchar is among other legislators who would like to establish a nationwide registry to monitor and track the relationship between firefighters’ exposure to toxins and how it relates to the deadly disease.

Firefighters have to be able to lift 175 pounds while wearing this full suit of protective gear. Yet sometimes, it’s not enough.

“He was physically fit; he ate right; he ran a half marathon,” said Trish Beach.

Trish lost her husband Terry Beach, a firefighter with the Moorhead Fire Department, to stomach cancer in 2011.

She says the pain never goes away.

“I miss him. Every day, I think of him,” said Beach.

She’s not alone.

Greg Doedon, another firefighter with the Moorhead Fire Department is a survivor of stomach cancer.

Although in remission, he says he wouldn’t wish his rollercoaster of a journey upon anyone.

“I can’t imagine how I would’ve ever gotten through that without my family, my friends, my fire friends who are so close to me,” said Greg Doedon with the Moorhead Fire Department.

Two examples of why our everyday heroes need someone to look after them.

Minnesota is one of 33 states that recognizes various cancers as an occupational hazard.

However, there is no statewide registry to effectively track the number of firefighters within the state who have been diagnosed with cancer.