Group to count firefighter cancer cases in GA in response to CBS - CBS46 News

Group to count firefighter cancer cases in GA in response to CBS46 investigation

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Dennis Thayer, chairman of the Georgia Fallen Firefighters Foundation speaks to CBS46 News Dennis Thayer, chairman of the Georgia Fallen Firefighters Foundation speaks to CBS46 News
MACON, GA (CBS46) -

The Georgia Fallen Firefighter Foundation has launched a statewide effort to count the number of firefighters in the state who have developed cancer.

"We're not talking about it. We're not doing anything about it," said Dennis Thayer, the foundation chair, of increased cancer risk among firefighters. Thayer unveiled the survey at a firefighters convention in Macon last week.

CBS46 News reported this summer on the link between firefighting and cancer

"I was watching the last piece [CBS46 investigative reporter Jeff Chirico] did on [cancer] with the Atlanta Fire Department and the question was asked, how many firefighters in your department have cancer and it couldn't be answered," recalled Thayer. "We've got to be able to answer that question. We need to ask that question."

The survey asks firefighters ten questions including their type of cancer, factors that may have contributed to it and treatment. The state's fire chiefs are also asked to complete a separate survey.

"We need to communicate that there's an urgent need for this," said Robert Singletary, president of the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs. "Without that information that data is incomplete."

Thayer said the results of the survey could help improve prevention techniques and underscore the importance of new laws to financially help firefighters who do get sick with cancer.

"If they're truly getting cancer from firefighting then we need to take care of them. It's the right thing to do. We do it when they die, when a building falls on them," said Thayer.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

 

 

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