See how the Central Valley Fire District is helping combat cancer + tour their brand new facility.
The Central Valley Fire District (CVFD) in Belgrade, Montana opened a cutting-edge new station this summer. The station has a dedicated focus on holistic health and wellness — unprecedented (but greatly needed) across the industry. Every aspect of the carefully-designed facility helps firefighters and partners find efficiencies in their response protocol, decontaminate their gear more safely and thoroughly, cook more nutritious meals, conduct endurance focused workouts, get better sleep and come together in common areas that facilitate communication.
Cancer is a known threat to firefighters, as their response often involves being surrounded by carcinogens. In many stations, carcinogen-covered gear and apparatus are taken off and discarded—sometimes right by kitchen or sleeping areas, where they “off-gas” unhealthy contaminants into the air.
CVFD is proactively reducing their exposure to carcinogens and dangerous contaminants with their state-of-the-art decontamination facility. Decon begins on-scene and continues at the station, involving wipes, hoses, eyewash stations, specially-rated washer and dryers, boot wash stations and custom mats. The bunker gear area has negative pressurization, is closed off from the rest of the station and vents any contaminants safely outdoors.
Over the years, firefighting knowledge has advanced greatly. The members of this station hope to make a difference and set precedence with their commitment to a selfless and holistic approach to health and dedication to providing better emergency response services to their community. They hope it inspires a movement that better helps protect firefighters across the country. VFIS proudly presented Central Valley Fire District with a commemorative plaque during their grand opening. We look forward to seeing other fire stations follow suit over time, step by step, by placing more importance than ever on these critical, truly life-changing initiatives.
WATCH: Chief Ron Lindroth talks about the new facility and gives us a tour>>>
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Additional information about cancer in the fire service
Cancer poses the greatest threat to firefighter health and safety today. Due to their exposure to dangerous carcinogens, firefighters have a higher risk of developing and dying from cancer than the general population they serve to protect. In fact, 70% of line-of-duty deaths in 2016 were caused by cancer.
What is the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and how can it help my fire department?
If you or someone in your department has been diagnosed with cancer, the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) provides valuable resources and support. FCSN offers their signature toolbox filled with proven resources to cancer-stricken firefighters and their families for free, as well as access to their badge-to-badge support network. Even before diagnosis, FCSN can help with awareness tools and prevention training. To request any of these resources and to learn more about FCSN, please visit their website: firefightercancersupport.org.
VFIS is the largest provider of insurance, education and consulting services for fire departments, ambulance and rescue squads and 911 centers in North America, having pioneered the first tailored insurance package for this industry in 1969.