Fire Fighters Better Able to Track On-The-Job Exposures to Deadly Carcinogens and Other Toxins

WASHINGTON, DC — Fire fighters on the front lines protecting their communities now have a valuable tool for recording and providing evidence of work-related exposures to help protect them against deadly cancers and other occupational hazards in the fire service.

The new National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) Exposure Tracker is now available as an app for fire fighters, paramedics or officers to create a personal diary for logging exposure and incident details in a private, encrypted and secure online environment.

“This valuable tool will help provide fire fighters with the documentation they need to show on-the-job exposure to a toxic soup of carcinogens and ensure they have the resources to get healthy and return to work,” says Harold A. Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

The NFORS Fire Fighter Exposure Tracker was developed through a partnership with the IAFF, the International Associations of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, International Public Safety Data Institute (IPSDI) and other fire service experts and is funded by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters grant program and the Ramsey Social Justice Foundation.

“The information gathered in the NFORS Exposure Tracker will provide essential data to help researchers better understand toxic exposures on the fire scene and develop new treatments and prevention protocols for occupational diseases, including cancer – now the leading cause of death among fire fighters,” says Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, president and CEO of IPSDI.

As more governments enact legislation providing workers’ compensation coverage for fire fighters who contract cancer or develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the NFORS Exposure Tracker record provides detailed data on personal work-related exposures, which can be accessed anytime, even in retirement.

The IAFF and IPSDI are working together to assure that fire fighters using the NFORS Exposure Tracker can also easily register to be part of the National Firefighter Cancer Registry and other major fire fighter cancer studies by opting-in to share exposure data with researchers.

The Firefighter Cancer Registry, signed into law by President Trump in 2018, will provide researchers with a centralized database to acquire an abundance of high-quality data, such as work history and number and type of incidents to determine how fire fighters are contracting cancer. 

Fire fighters can download the NFORS Exposure Tracker App free from app stores and complete an individual profile. The profile and data entered is encrypted and secure. Fire departments will not have access to your data. Fire departments participating in the NFORS Analytics (CAD Module) will receive periodic aggregate reports about overall exposure trends — not individual reports. 

Fire fighters, paramedics and officers should encourage their fire departments to participate in this nationwide program to ensure that information about on-the-job exposures is readily available. By linking their fire department to NFORS Analytics, fire fighters’ incident data will automatically load directly into their personal exposure record without additional data entry.

NFORS was created by fire service research partners, including the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Public Safety Data Institute, Underwriters Laboratory (UL), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Urban Institute, the University of Texas at Austin and the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

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