As an active, former or retired member of the fire service — paid or volunteer — you now have an opportunity to do something that can help your fellow firefighters.
By adding your information to the National Firefighter Registry (NFR), you can help researchers better understand how your work affects the risk of getting cancer and how to lower this risk. According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) research, cancer is a leading cause of death among firefighters, and research suggests firefighters are at higher risk for certain types of cancers when compared to the general population.
Some of the data requested for an NFR profile includes name, date of birth, and information about work, exposures, health and lifestyle. When cancer diagnoses are found in state cancer registries, NIOSH researchers match NFR profiles and work histories to the state registries. They then seek to obtain work history records from fire departments to better understand the firefighters' exposures and how they may be related to cancer over time.
Any cancer diagnosis information that is linked to an NFR participant is protected by the same safeguards as the other NFR data, including by an Assurance of Confidentiality.
The more firefighters who sign up for the registry through its secure web portal, the more information researchers have to learn about cancer in the fire service and how to protect firefighters from developing cancer in the line of duty. The registry also helps pave the way for new health and safety measures to keep firefighters safe and improve understanding of cancer risk among minority, female, volunteer and wildland firefighters.
The NFR is a critically important initiative in the fight against firefighter cancer, so at the National Fire Academy (NFA), we'll be offering information about the registry to all who attend our on-campus courses, and we'll encourage students to register.
Jan. 17, 2023: U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell and NFA Superintendent Gabliks test registration for the NFR at the Fire Department Safety Officers Association Health and Safety Conference.
You can find out more about the NFR on the NIOSH NFR webpage, including:
- How the NFR works.
- Privacy and data security.
- Materials to share information about the NFR with your fire service network.
- How to sign up for registry updates.
To register for the NFR, visit NFR.cdc.gov.
For information on how to promote the NFR to firefighters across the nation, download the promotion kit PDF.
About the NFR
The NFR was established in 2018 by NIOSH when Congress passed the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act. It is the largest effort ever undertaken to understand and reduce the risk of cancer among U.S. firefighters.
For further reading
- Firefighters: donating blood may reduce PFAS levels in your blood. A research project involving Australian firefighters shows PFAS levels in the blood can be reduced if a person donates blood every 12 weeks or plasma every 6 weeks.
- Major changes in firefighting foams suggest needs for different tactics and training. The NFPA has released a roadmap for transitioning to new firefighting foams. The change suggests a need for different firefighting tactics and training.
- International study finds that “occupational exposure as a firefighter causes cancer”. An assessment released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies firefighting in the highest hazard category.
- Wristbands track firefighter exposure to harmful chemicals. Research using silicone wristbands to track firefighter exposure to harmful chemicals is a new tool in understanding the cancer risk for firefighters.
- The hidden dangers in firefighting foam. Learn how to protect yourself against exposure to dangerous chemical compounds found in firefighting aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) solutions.
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