VANDALIA, Ohio (WDTN) – The Vandalia Fire Department is looking at new ways to prevent its firefighters from being diagnosed with cancer.
Captain Steve Milliken has been named as the division’s Health and Safety Officer. He’s tasked with overseeing safety operations and the department’s cancer prevention program,
Milliken said studies have shown, firefighters face higher rates of certain types of cancers, compared to the general population including: skin cancer and brain cancer.
“One of the things we worry about, with firefighters, is cancer,” he said.
“The exposures to the substances and fire. Whether its though the gear, through breathing – even though we wear a mask and do all these things – the soot gets on you, it gets on your clothes, it gets on your gear, and you inhale this, and you absorb it – and what we’re looking at, is ways to prevent that.”
Milliken said, as an example, he will look at ways to better store and clean fire gear.
In January, Ohio passed cancer presumption legislation for the state’s firefighters, meaning firefighters diagnosed with cancer will receive worker’s compensation and paid medical treatment.
Milliken said although they are highly skilled and well trained, fire fighting is a dangerous job.
He’ll work with the Vandalia fire division on enhancing the department’s cancer prevention program.