Tuesday, July 9, 2024

MASSACHUSSETTS DFS: VIGILANT CANCER SCREENING SUPPORT OF THE FIRE SERVICE


VIDEO EXTRA:
Chief Russ Osgood (FCSN) introduces the National FF Skin Cancer Screening Initiative under a partnership with the American Academy of Dermatology


The Firefighter Cancer Support Network in partnership with the American Academy dermatologist is providing skin cancer screenings nationwide. Co-coordinator Chief Russ Osgood credits the fine work of Dr. Christine Kannler in the Massachusetts Fire Service and beyond. Dr. Kannler has also been involved with a training program that the Firefighter Cancer Support Network has developed which included free skin cancer screening. This task force is made possible by AFG grants and the US Fire Administration.  
(Complete interview & feature story)


MASSACHUSETTS DEPT. OF FIRE SERVICE DRIVES CANCER SCREENING TO ALL FIRST RESPONDERS

On June 9, 2024, DermScan News and HealthTech Reporter continued their review of the national joint skin cancer screening task force by the AAD and the Firefighters Cancer Support Network. We earned new insight on the foundation of Dr. Christine Kannler's crusade with an interview with MR. JAKE WARK, public information officer for the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS).  

Mr. Wark described his agency's commitment to the Massachusetts fire service which includes the municipal fire departments and those fire departments on military bases across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. "We do that in a few different ways; through hazardous materials response, operational support at major fire and emergency scenes, firefighter training and operational capabilities including the Firefighter Cancer Awareness Prevention and Early Detection program." 

Source: facebook.com/MassDFS

Our publishers honor the Mass. DFS and its leaders as true role models for a national blueprint for all states when it comes to prevention and early detection for ALL fire service personnel.  According to Dr. Robert Bard, medical diagnostic advisor for the Firefighters Against Cancer & Exposures and NYC radiologist, "Studying their cancer awareness and screening programs earmark a most well thought-out set of initiatives for monitoring their members' health (from the critical nature of occupational hazards) both during their service and after.  To have municipal and governmental bodies collaborate and partner with outside medical professionals like Dr. Kannler, you're (finally) getting the best strategies and proper care for the firefighters.  All states can learn from this model.  In a word, Massachusetts DFS is doing it RIGHT!"


Part 2: FROM THE DFS INTERVIEW: by Jake Wark


The DFS was created in 1996 to bring several fire service functions under one roof (some going back almost 130 years) The state fire marshal's office was created in the 1890s to support with fire investigation. Under the same roof, we have the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy which trains firefighters for most of the cities and towns in Massachusetts. Our recruit programs serve career, call, and volunteer firefighters. (In Massachusetts, about 70% of our cities and towns are served, at least in part by call and volunteer firefighters.)


The Fire Academy also provides in-service training for veteran and experienced firefighters up to and including chief officers. We provide, coordinate and deploy the hazmat teams that serve the entire state from six different regions. The cancer Firefighter Cancer Awareness Prevention and Early Detection program has really grown over the past several years- since around 2018, when we started partnering with Dr. Kannler. 

The cancer program really started with skin cancer and a partnership with Dr. Kannler whose primary focus is on skin cancer (understandably) because she's a dermatologist. But cancer in many forms is much more common among firefighters than the general public that they protect. Many of us think of the fact that products of combustion today, the smoke and the toxins that are contained in that smoke are very different than they were 20, 30, 40 years ago.  We used to see natural materials like wood and cotton burning in house fires, but today, it's plastics, it's synthetics... and those all release toxic and carcinogenic chemicals when they burn. 

Since inception, our cancer program has really expanded through the years to the point where we began offering oral cancer screenings, chest CT scans and PSA blood tests.  In the past year, we began offering mammograms and ultrasounds through contracted vendors. We're really trying to support firefighters with the services that are most appropriate to them. One of the reasons that this is important is that municipal firefighters (in many cases) will not have insurance coverage for those screenings. We want to offer screenings as early as possible because they are more likely to receive an early cancer diagnosis but less likely to have screening covered by their insurance at the appropriate age. Unfortunately, firefighters are more likely to be diagnosed with these cancers much earlier than the public that they protect.

These screenings are offered at no cost to the firefighter or the fire department. These are funded through the very generous support of the Massachusetts legislature, supported by Governor Maura Healy and her administration alongside the Executive Office of Public Safety here in Massachusetts. We are really lucky to have that support in state government. Our screenings are also available to retired Massachusetts firefighters as well as those on active duty.  We recognize that in many cases, firefighters are retiring after a lifetime of service, during which they've responded to some very dangerous calls. They were exposed for many years to the hazardous products of combustion and our programs remain available to them as well. 

The Department of Fire Services has always been a service and support agency. The crystallization that occupational cancer was something we needed to confront came about in the late 2010's. It became a topic of increased conversation, awareness and concern among the fire departments in Massachusetts and among our PA public safety leaders.


This feature is sponsored by:

In a recent episode of RESPONDER RESILIENCE, Lt. Guiler (female firefighter and breast cancer survivor) promotes female firefighter dolls that are beacons of empowerment for young girls, introducing them to the world of firefighting (featured on Good Morning America, Kelly Clarkson Show, Woman’s World Magazine)  A portion of the proceeds will go to the Triple F Foundation- a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, to help firefighters who are battling cancer & on the job injuries. 





Brain Health Education and Training for First Responders (Part 1)

BRAIN WELLNESS SUPPLEMENTAL:
By Marilyn Abrahamson, MA,CCC-SLP-CBHC

First responders, including police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel, face high-stress situations every day, putting immense pressure on their mental and physical well-being. The demanding nature of their jobs requires peak cognitive performance and quick decision-making abilities. With this in mind, brain health education and training are critical to ensure their cognitive function remains sharp, and to enable them to cope with their occupational challenges.

It is important to begin by offering instruction on lifestyle options that support a healthy brain. These brain-healthy lifestyle options include:

1) Mediterranean or MIND Diet:  A brain-healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, or the MIND diet, plays a pivotal role in supporting cognitive health. Rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins, both diets provide essential nutrients that promote brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, for example, have been associated with improved memory and cognitive performance. By adopting such a diet, first responders can properly nourish their brains, and enhance their ability to quickly and accurately process information while under stress.

2) Exercise:  Regular physical activity has profound effects on brain health. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen crucial for optimal cognitive performance. Additionally, it stimulates the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and endorphins, reducing stress and anxiety while improving mood and overall mental well-being. Incorporating exercise routines into their daily lives can enhance the cognitive resilience of first responders.
3) Sleep: Adequate sleep is vital for memory consolidation and cognitive restoration. The demanding and often irregular schedules of first responders can disrupt their sleep patterns, leading to cognitive fatigue and impaired decision-making. Educating them about the significance of sleep hygiene and stress-reduction techniques can improve their sleep quality, ensuring they remain mentally sharp and attentive during critical situations.

4) Stress Management: High-stress situations are an inherent part of a first responder's profession, leading to increased levels of cortisol and other stress hormones. Chronic stress can negatively impact the brain's structure and function, leading to cognitive decline over time. Implementing stress management techniques like mindfulness, deep breathing, and relaxation exercises can help mitigate the damaging effects of stress on the brain.

5) Lifelong Learning: Encouraging first responders to engage in lifelong learning activities fosters cognitive reserve. Cognitive reserve refers to the brain's ability to adapt and function effectively despite age-related changes or brain injuries. Pursuing continuing education, learning new skills, or engaging in mentally stimulating activities like puzzles, language learning, or music can enhance cognitive flexibility and creativity, making them better equipped to handle complex and unpredictable situations.

6) Brain Training and Compensatory Strategy Education: In addition to brain-healthy lifestyle choices, targeted brain training programs can significantly improve cognitive function among first responders. Cognitive training focuses on enhancing specific cognitive abilities such as attention and memory through structured exercises and techniques.

7) Attention Training: First responders must maintain vigilant attention to assess situations rapidly and accurately. Cognitive training programs can help them develop sustained attention, allowing them to concentrate on critical details for prolonged periods without succumbing to distractions. These programs often include exercises involving visual and auditory stimuli, forcing responders to remain focused amidst external interruptions.

8) Memory Training: Memory lapses during high-pressure situations can have severe consequences. Memory training interventions can help first responders improve their short-term and working memory capacities. Techniques such as visualization, chunking, and mnemonic strategies can be employed to enhance memory encoding and retrieval, ensuring vital information is readily accessible when needed.

9) Compensatory Strategy Education: Cognitive training also involves instruction in compensatory strategies that empower first responders to work around potential cognitive limitations. These strategies include note-taking, time-management techniques, and organization skills. By incorporating these practices into their daily routines, responders can optimize their cognitive abilities and make more informed decisions under pressure.


MARILYN ABRAHAMSON, MA, CCC-SLP : As a Brain Health Education Specialist at Ceresti Health, Marilyn offers initiatives that supports education and empowerment of family caregivers. She also writes for and edits the Ceresti’s monthly newsletter and produces all brain health education and brain-health coaching programs for caregivers.  Marilyn's prior work is as a NJ Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist since 1987 and is an Amen Clinics Certified Brain Health Coach.





Tuesday, July 2, 2024

In appreciation: Dr. Christine Kannler (the Stephen D. Coan Fire Marshall Award- 11/2022)


Remarks of Former State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, 11/17/22:

Firefighting is an inherently dangerous calling. But of all the hazards we confront each day, occupational cancer is the one most likely to take our lives. Firefighters are far more likely than the general public to be diagnosed with cancer, to develop it earlier in life, and to discover it in its later stages.  Dr. Christine Kannler is determined to improve our odds.

Dr. Kannler is a passionate advocate and a tireless crusader for cancer awareness, prevention, and early detection in the fire service. As a board-certified dermatologist, she’s made it her mission to screen as many firefighters as possible for skin cancer, helping them to identify, treat, and survive a potentially deadly diagnosis.

It’s a mission with deeply personal roots. Like almost everyone in this room, Dr. Kannler lost someone in the fire service to occupational cancer. Her brother, Peter Kannler, was a Chelsea firefighter and Academy instructor who lost his own battle with cancer in 2016, when he was just 37 years old.

Following Peter’s tragic death, Dr. Kannler put her training to use by independently offering free skin cancer screenings to any firefighter who was interested. After initially working on her own, she contacted the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in 2018 to see if we could expand her reach. Since that time, the interest has exploded, and she’s screened 3,265 firefighters at scores of local firehouses, union meetings, and other venues across the Commonwealth – all on her own time.

To give you an idea of how urgently these services are needed, about 16% of Dr. Kannler’s firefighter patients require follow-up care.  That’s a rate 60% higher than the public they protect. Time and again, we hear the same five words from firefighters who beat melanoma because she helped them spot it in time: “Dr. Kannler saved my life.”

The fire service is becoming much more attuned to occupational cancer than we used to be. But most of us don’t have a dermatologist who can provide meaningful information and a clinical exam. Dr. Kannler has made that resource available, on request, in the very places we live and work.  And her perseverance has brought her before state and national dermatological associations, where she presses her case for similar programs nationwide. So far, about 10 other states are trying partnerships like ours – and we hope many more will follow.

The Firefighter of the Year Awards recognize acts of life-saving heroism by our brother and sister firefighters. Dr. Kannler might not be a firefighter, but she’s a hero and a lifesaver all the same.  It’s my great honor to present the 2022 Stephen D. Coan Fire Marshal’s Award to Dr. Christine Kannler.


For this segment, our publishing team wishes to express our special thanks to  Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS) Public Information Officer Jake Wark and State Fire Marshal Jon M. Davine, whose leadership makes firefighter cancer a priority for the agency and makes our partnership with Dr. Kannler possible..




"Toxic Fires from Burning Plastics" Remain a National Health Threat - 45+ Years After Landmark NYC Fire

Written by: Dr. Robert L. Bard | Edited by: L. Gettz, Ed.D & Graciella Davi (NYCRA NEWS Editorial Staff)
Play 1975 NY Tel Fire/Dan Noonan Tribute video

November 9, 2021- The NY Fire Bell Club held its second annual meeting at the NYC Fire Museum on Spring Street- an historical landmark for "the city's bravest". In the name of public cancer awareness and a valuable history lesson in NYC fires, FDNY Honorary Battalion Chief Sergio Nieto, president of the FBC presented nationally recognized guest speaker- FDNY's own Ret. FF Dan Noonan, responder/survivor and crusader for the 1975 NY Tel Exchange Fire.

Mr. Noonan's powerful presentation captivated the large audience of active and retired firefighters and their families.  He delivered a powerful and real-time tour of his experiences while covering the most vital topics from that event-- including 1975 news coverage, interviews from lawmakers and FD leaderships, medical evaluations of the toxic contaminations and the after-effects of the event on the city both then and now.  Mr. Noonan also delivered compelling spotlights on some of the 699 firefighters who responded to the rescue event and their many health effects from the deadly smoke.

Since 1975, Dan Noonan has tirelessly promoted and echoed "the many lessons learned" from the department's most challenging disasters. He and many voices from the fire service considered  the NY Tel Exchange Fire "our First 9/11" - clearly voicing an overwhelmingly different type of disaster as far as its after-effects and the many layers of damage both to the city and to the responders, communication workers and the residents in the immediate area.

Dan Noonan's 11/9 presentation earmarked his continuing outcry for recognition of all 699 responders as well as the historical landmark of how killer smoke from burning plastics - re. the ONE BILLION feet of smoldering PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) copper wire insulation) was then and remains today as a health threat to our responders.  His seminar on the fire led to an Environmental Biology course in DIOXIN poisoning emitted by burning PVC.

During the seminar, Mr. Noonan played a CBS news clip by Arnold Diaz interviewing city officials about the AT&T Fire, then redirecting the focus on the NYC Subway System that also showed billions of miles of PVC piping and cable insulation and the high level of citywide carcinogenic risk involved should track fires happen.  Additional news clips included an interview with Dr. Deborah Wallace, nationally acclaimed Environmental Biologist and the author of the highly recognized 1990 textbook "IN THE MOUTH OF THE DRAGON- TOXIC FIRES IN THE AGE OF PLASTICS". Dr. Wallace’s book details the dangers of plastic-fueled toxic fires. Dr. Wallace notes: “No one thought to test early synthetic polymers for their combustion toxicity. These products were virtually untested when they were put on the market. Instead, the public became the test animals.”   She further states "we live in an age of plastics- exquisite wood-like furniture [plastic], designer textured wallcoverings [plastic], thick plush carpets, [plastic], fade-proof draperies [plastic]... and the list goes on.  The fact is, when living and working in any modern environment, we are surrounded by plastics. What most of us don't know is just how dangerous these plastics can be when heated, smoldering and burning.  

Mr. Noonan directed his audience to an entire chapter in Dr. Wallace’s book, referencing the 1975 NY Tel Fire; "PVC in the stage of decomposition and combustion can deliver an acute dose of toxicants which results in permanent serious injury and even delayed fatalities. Although the concentrated cloud of acid poses the most immediate life and health threat, other chemicals especially chlorinated hydrocarbons, can cause or contribute to serious chronic health problems....it is hoped that the consequences of this fire will lead to changes in the construction and layout of other buildings of this type. But even with improvements in construction and layout, the danger will not be completely eliminated. Synthetics are too pervasive in our world; we can never be too comfortable or confident about our safety. The Dragon lurks in the most unexpected places." [1]


HONORING DAN

When the NY Cancer Resource Alliance and F.A.C.E.S Foundation (Firefighters Against Cancer & Exposures) learned about Dan Noonan's presentation, national ambassadors like "Cousin Sal" Banchitta (Ret. FDNY FF from Ladder 316), Dave Dachinger (Ret. Lt. from the Ridgefield CT Fire Department) and F.A.C.E.S. President Lt. Chris Conner (Bedford TX) flocked at the opportunity to partner with the NY Fire Bell Club to present Dan's long awaited Lifetime Achievement Honor.  "It's about time Dan received the recognition he long deserved all DECADES of public speaking and outreach! As a direct historian for the 1975 Fire, all firefighters throughout the US continues to learn from this and other disasters and thanks to the power of his writing and his videos in YouTube, his voice IS ALSO OUR VOICE to support all first responders. Dan is the original torch bearer and an inspiration to us all!"  In a separate interview after the 11/9 event, Chief Nieto stated, “Dan has unending passion to bring a lot of knowledge about prevention and early detection … especially for the 'probies' and the younger members. They hear these talks in the fire academy, but Dan continues to keep stressing it- really bringing it home.  The importance of self-responsibility and self-awareness about safety- especially after its job.”

Thanks in part to the NY Fire Bell Club and the cooperation from Verizon, sources say the 699 responders of the 1975 Fire are about to is receive the proper and due recognition for their sacrifice and service in the form of a memorial plaque to be installed at the former NY Tel Exchange building (204 Second Avenue and Thirteenth Street in the East Village, NYC) plus a street naming related to the fire.   The unveiling is said to occur in early February, 2022.




Saturday, June 29, 2024

FF/HEALTH NEWS: SCREENING FIREFIGHTERS FOR SKIN CANCER


















6/1/2024‐ FDNY Fire Academy (Randalls Island, NY). The FDNY united with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) to conduct a comprehensive skin cancer screening for all of its active and retired members.

The AAD launched the Firefighter Skin Cancer Checks Initiative with the goal of diagnosing skin cancers early when they are highly treatable.  This event addressed the elevated occupational risk for skin cancer (21% greater risk of melanoma) as part of early detection for "the most common type of cancer in the United States and one that is easily treatable when detected early".


FDNY JOINT INITIATIVE WITH HEALTH EXPERTS & ADVOCATES
By: Lennard M. Gettz, Ed.D

In an interview with Battalion Chief John Haseney, a collaborative relationship was established last year between the FCSN and the FDNY to develop a department‐wide skin cancer screening program. "Since then, Russ Osgood (VP of FCSN) and I coordinated our first event on Sept. 30 of 2023 and then another one on February 10th of this year. With the recent partnership with the AAD, this latest event went very well!", said Chief Haseney. 

Attendees appreciated the well‐orchestrated group effort in support of our first responders. Under the clinical expertise of Dr. Christine Kannler (dermatologist), she and her team installed a total of twelve examination tents at the ready for the many active and retired members of the FDNY. Thirteen board‐certified dermatologists and dermatology residents provided free skin checks to nearly 300 firefighters on Saturday. Dr. Kannler initiated her own version of the program since 2018, donating her valuable expertise and time to provide free, potentially life‐saving skin cancer screenings to firefighters under the AAD skin cancer screening program. 

Chief Haseney credits the FDNY leadership, the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) and the Uniformed Fire Officer Association (UFOA) for getting the word out and inviting all members to attend this health event. He also recognizes Mollie’s Fund (a non‐profit foundation advocating for melanoma education and screening) and DetecTogether for their contribution to the added promotion of this screening events.  In a recent statement, he encourages any fire department large or small, city or suburb, volunteer or career to set up a free skin cancer screening for its membership by contacting their local FCSN rep or a dermatologist associated with the AAD. "It’s easy and simple.”

FIREFIGHTERS CANCER SUPPORT NETWORK
Source: Chief R. Osgood

Since 2005, the nonprofit Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN) has provided assistance and one-on-one mentoring to thousands of cancer-stricken firefighters and their families. The group’s primary mission is to provide support to firefighters that are diagnosed with cancer.  This includes providing education and awareness as well as producing events such as cancer screening opportunities for active and retired members of the fire service.  

“We have mentors throughout the country who are firefighters that have survived cancer that are helping other firefighters through their cancer battle”, says Vice President of Education Chief Russel Osgood, of Ogunquit, Maine.  


In an interview about the June 1st screening event, Chief Osgood provided an overview of the FCSN’s blueprint and coordination of the program.  “This skin cancer screening event at the FDNY Academy was the premier AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) partnership rollout event.  The FCSN and Dr. Christine Kannler have worked closely together for about three years… and since 2022, we worked under an endowment from the AFG (Assistance to Firefighters Grant) to produce skin cancer screenings to firefighters across the nation.  Prior to this program, we worked together on nine or 10 large cancer screening events together where we offered screening to an estimated total of 3000 responders so far.  Under the AAD partnership, we are scheduled to conduct a total of 45 new projects, coordinating with dermatologists from many regions in the country.” 

Using a model that began in 2017 by board-certified dermatologist, and sister of fallen Chelsea MA Firefighter Peter Kannler, Christine Kannler, had screened thousands of firefighters across New England. This program is saving lives and can now be utilized across the nation to bring skin cancer screenings to firehouses, where firefighters can spend a few moments from their busy day being screened for a melanoma and other skin cancers.

The spirit of the rescue responder runs deep within the family of dermatologist Dr. Christine Kannler from Northeast Dermatology Associates, North Andover Massachusetts. Dr. Kannler embarked on a national mission to screen firefighters for skin cancer in 2017. The loss of her brother, Peter Kannler a firefighter from Chelsea, was diagnosed with occupational esophageal cancer at age 36 and passed away in 2016. Dr. Kannler took her medical expertise to the national road with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and the American Academy of Dermatology. The following is a transcript from an in-depth interview on June 22nd with Dr. Kannler about her crusade to support firefighters’ health. She generously shared her valuable insights on the need for regular health screenings and her skin cancer screening program which she hopes would inspire departments to do more for active first responders.

 

ON EDUCATION AND PROACTIVE AWARENESS
By: Dr. Christine Kannler

I educate firefighters about fire scene exposures. Firefighters are inhaling carcinogens into their lungs, ingesting carcinogens into their GI systems when talking, and absorbing carcinogens through the skin when covered in soot. Firefighters smell like a fire for three days after the event. It is like eating a delicious Italian dinner- you smell like garlic a couple days later. The mechanisms are the same: Your body is just trying to remove those chemicals, whether it be good chemicals like garlic or the bad chemicals in the fire. 

I also explain that as soon as the alarm goes off, endorphins surge, heart rate increases, blood vessels dilate, skin pores open to help modulate body temperature. What's also happening is that the soot and the carcinogens are traveling down into those dilated pores and into those blood vessels. Skin absorption levels change in hot environments; for example, groin skin absorption increases 300-fold at a fire scene. Firefighter gear contains PFAS so perhaps the increased absorption is playing a role in the increased incidence of prostate cancer in young firefighters. Science has studied the blood and urine of firefighters before and after a fire, and the carcinogens levels increase thereby solidifying the 2014 NIOSH firefighter study which showed firefighters have a 9% higher incidence of cancer and a 14% higher mortality rate. 

When you explain what's happening and what science has shown there is more understanding why firefighters need to get cancer screening at earlier ages. Not only do firefighters face a 21% greater risk of melanoma but firefighters are being diagnosed decades earlier at ages of 30 and 49. Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer and one American dies of melanoma every hour, but this doesn’t have to happen as melanoma is treatable when detected early. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is committed to increasing the awareness of firefighter cancers, especially melanoma, and has launched a national firefighter skin cancer screening initiative. This illustrates the importance of educating our medical providers as environmental and occupational carcinogen exposures are not a part of the traditional medical education and the need for more educational journal articles in our medical literature. Dermatologists have extensive training and expertise to identify suspicious lesion, diagnose cancer and provide treatment. For firefighters or the public in general, it is important to contact a board-certified dermatologist if you notice a new spot, a spot that looks much different than others, or have a skin lesion that is changing, consistently itching, bleeding, scaling or not healing.


THE FUTURE OF SCREENING FOR OCCUPATIONAL CANCERS
For the next two years, the American Academy of Dermatology, together with the Firefighters Cancer Support Network, are connecting the firefighter community with board certified dermatologists- the skin cancer experts, to help save the lives of these heroes. I see the future of this skin cancer screening program being broadened out to other high-risk groups. Though my focus is on firefighters, POLICE are at high risk for skin cancer and other types of occupational cancers since they're maintaining the fire scene safety. Massachusetts cancer registry data from the 1980’s showed that firefighters had the highest incidence of cancer and police had the second highest rate. There are other groups in our society- construction workers, farmers, petrochemical workers and pilots, who are also at high risk, at least for melanoma, and most likely other types of cancers as well due to their environmental exposures at work to petroleum-based products or increased UV radiation. Importantly, these groups of society also happen to be the least engaged in health care. My hope is the AAD will continue to screen firefighters but also expand this program to other at high risk occupations in the years to come. The firefighter skin cancer program is unique in that we are able to screen firefighters at local firehouses which is nontraditional but allows for a more intimate interaction and increases firefighter participation.

AFTERTHOUGHT
As we learn more about exposures, we can broaden out the cancer screening, but my goal ultimately would be to target HEALTH. We can analyze the type of cancer you have and make a targeted chemotherapy regimen and cancer treatment plan; why can’t we target cancer screening to reflect the high risk exposures of an individual? To me, it would make more sense to compile all the known exposure data and make a comprehensive cancer screening program or health/wellness program for these individuals from day one when they start their job and proactively screen these individuals at an earlier age for all known health conditions, as opposed to trying to pick up the pieces later in that last year of life after they've gotten this horrible cancer diagnosis. Financially it would be a better investment to screen and detect earlier cancers. Currently our health system spends an enormous amount of money in the last year or years of life and the outcomes are not always desirable. The USPTF makes cancer screening recommendations for the average American citizen and firefighters have carcinogenic exposures that exceed those of the average American. The current system is not working; it doesn’t make any sense; and brave firefighters are dying of cancer nationwide!


This feature is sponsored by:
In a recent episode of RESPONDER RESILIENCE, Lt. Guiler (female firefighter and breast cancer survivor) promotes female firefighter dolls that are beacons of empowerment for young girls, introducing them to the world of firefighting (featured on Good Morning America, Kelly Clarkson Show, Woman’s World Magazine)  A portion of the proceeds will go to the Triple F Foundation- a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, to help firefighters who are battling cancer & on the job injuries. 


From the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

click to enlarge
Nothing stops Christine Kannler, MD, and Abby Baker, Program Coordinator for the Mass Fire Academy,  from conducting a scheduled #SkinCancer screening!  They had quite an experience traveling by sea, air, and land to and from the Nantucket Fire Department earlier this month.  The weather threatened to cancel the skin cancer screening completely, but the two pushed on and reached Nantucket via ferry to screen 26 firefighters.  During that process, the ferries returning to Hyannis were cancelled due to high winds and heavy rain -- so the duo made their way back via plane.  The seas were rough, but the skies were rougher!  They returned to the Cape the next day to conduct more screenings.  

Want to schedule a skin cancer screening at your department?  Use the course request form at http://ow.ly/9nP850GYPYc and try to beat that adventure!

In appreciation: Dr. Christine Kannler (the Stephen D. Coan Fire Marshall Award "Firefighting is an inherently dangerous calling. But of all the hazards we confront each day, occupational cancer is the one most likely to take our lives. Firefighters are far more likely than the general public to be diagnosed with cancer, to develop it earlier in life, and to discover it in its later stages. Dr. Christine Kannler is determined to improve our odds."  - see complete Remarks of Former State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, 11/17/22


For this segment, our publishing team wishes to express our special thanks to  Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS) Public Information Officer Jake Wark and State Fire Marshal Jon M. Davine, whose leadership makes firefighter cancer a priority for the agency and makes our partnership with Dr. Kannler possible..






HEALTHALERT: SKIN REACTIONS POTENTIALLY LINKED TO HEAVY METAL CONTAMINATION: By: Dr. Robert L. Bard

Heavy metal poisoning can occur from a significant exposure to certain metals in the air, water or digested materials. Heavy metals including ARSENIC, LEAD and MERCURY are recognized to cause a wide range of health issues and even death and others. Poisoning can happen if you eat or drink something tainted with heavy metals or if you breathe in contaminated dust or fumes.

ARSENIC EXPOSURES & CANCERS: Inorganic arsenic is a confirmed carcinogen and is the most significant chemical contaminant in drinking‐water globally...and are highly toxic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people are exposed to elevated levels of inorganic arsenic through drinking contaminated water, food preparation and irrigation of food crops, industrial processes... and is used industrially in the processing of glass, pigments, textiles, paper, metal adhesives, wood preservatives, ammunition, and, to a limited extent, in pesticides, feed additives and pharmaceuticals. (See complete report)


It’s not just these obvious sources that are contaminating our environment. Natural disasters produce their own share of toxins, directly and indirectly. Toxins that normally aren’t released into the environment directly can pose new threats when natural disasters overwhelm current measures. For example, today’s fires release toxins as materials burn, whether these materials are those found in nature or those that are manufactured. Floods cause sewage and industrial or agricultural waste to enter  waterways and groundwater systems. As these natural disasters these become increasingly more frequent and more devastating, we’ll need new ways of addressing their impact. (See complete report)



6/11/2024- I recently partnered with "PROSTATESCAN NOW" because of the rampant health concern in my generation and my retired FF community for Prostate Cancer. I welcome you to view our pilot episode in support of proactive checkups and Prostate Health! I'm speaking to all my dude-friends in their 50's who need to start taking their health more seriously, while applauding those who have stayed on top of early detection and prevention. One such person is my latest hero in this- Mr. Barrie Kolstein. Check out our feature on this great motivator and role model! (See video)


3/27/2024- 23 years later, those exposed to 9/11 continue to feel the health repercussions of toxin and toxicants from the historical urban disaster. More than the 343 firefighters who perished during that fated time, we continue to find cases in the rescue and responder service, contracting the many types of illnesses from this horrendous response call. 13x Emmy Award winning reporter Marvin Scott covers the EARLY DETECTION program as he interviews Dr. Robert Bard (Cancer Imaging Radiologist) and Ret. FF and 9/11 responder Sal Banchitta. Dr. Bard presents his state-of-the-art imaging innovations to provide firefighters with some of the most advanced scanning solutions. "There are many tools out there that patients should know about. I'm pretty fortunate to have access to Dr. Bard and his program for advanced screening and I tell all my fellow firefighters about 'Getting Checked NOW!" (See video)





Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: The materials provided on this newsletter are copyrighted and the intellectual property of the publishers/producers (The NY Cancer Resource Alliance, IntermediaWorx inc. and F.A.C.E.S. – Firefighters Against Cancer & Exposures). It is provided publicly strictly for informational purposes within non-commercial use and not for purposes of resale, distribution, public display or performance. Unless otherwise indicated on this web based page, sharing, re-posting, re-publishing of this work is strictly prohibited without due permission from the publishers.  Also, certain content may be licensed from third-parties. The licenses for some of this Content may contain additional terms. When such Content licenses contain additional terms, we will make these terms available to you on those pages (which his incorporated herein by reference).The publishers/producers of this material and its contents are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, please always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health provider. Do not postpone or disregard any professional medical advice over something you may have seen or read on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately.  This website does not support, endorse or recommend any specific products, tests, physicians, procedures, treatment opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this site. Referencing any content or information seen or published in this website or shared by other visitors of this website is solely at your own risk. The publishers/producers of this Internet web site reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify, disable access to, or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, all or any part of this Internet web site or any information contained thereon without liability or notice to you.


Monday, April 29, 2024

XDCUFF: REDEFINING SAFER PATIENT HANDLING

In the fast-paced world of emergency medical services, first responders are constantly seeking innovative tools that can enhance their efficiency and effectiveness in the field. Enter the XDcuff, a revolutionary device designed to help reduce the risk of injuries to patients and first responders. XDcuff is a patented stretcher-integrated limb restraint, designed to cut application times, reduce provider exposure to accidental assault, and improve the speed of care.

Responder Resilience spoke with paramedic and firefighter David Dufek, founder of XDcuff about the inspiration behind the development of XDcuff and what sets it apart from traditional limb restraints out there:

"I've been in EMS for almost 18 years now, and throughout my career, I had a lot of difficulties applying traditional limb restraint products. On one call in particular, my partner was injured by a combative patient. Using towels, sheets or soft restraints was a drawn-out process, and it delayed patient care. When my partner was injured, I thought, “Hey, we need a better physical restraint.”

XDcuff is an integrated restraint that's already attached to the stretcher. When an unfortunate event with a patient like that happens, you don't have to go searching for the restraints, they're already in the correct location, ready to deploy. It's a much faster, more efficient way to restrain them.

David explains how the stretcher-integrated design of XDcuff enhances patient safety and comfort, compared to the days when we would scramble to get some restraints together:

There's not currently a predetermined spot to apply restraints on a stretcher. This is very important, especially now with the powered cots. There have been instances where providers have accidentally tied a restraint to the legs of the stretcher and when they lowered it, injuring the patient. With pre-connected restraints, you no longer have to be concerned about the mechanics of the stretcher damaging the stretcher or the patient, and we can spend more time treating patients, not tying restraints.  

XDcuff lessens the time it takes to apply restraints because you already know where the anchors are: they're highlighted in yellow. The pre-connected aspect alone greatly speeds up application, especially when you have medic students or police officers working together. It keeps everybody on the same page.

David elaborated on patient restraint training that's needed and how department leaders better prepare their crews for deploying the XD cuff:

In the fire service, possessing the right tool is only a part of the job. It's vital to teach members, especially new hires, how to physically restrain patients. Compared to police officers, fire and EMS providers have very minimal restraint training. It's an area that receives only a little coverage in schools and during training for new hires. As a result, first responders are often forced to learn on the job, without the necessary skills or knowledge. The training doesn't have to be in-depth. A few hours spent with new hires, going over what is expected of them, would make a significant difference to how safely we carry out these skills. Additionally,  we need to improve our restraint practices to ensure we only restrain those who need it. 

As we continue to navigate the challenges of emergency medical services in the 21st century, the XDcuff stands as a testament to the power of innovation in supporting the critical work of first responders. Its deployment could very well mark a new era in emergency medical care, where technology and compassion go hand in hand to help reduce the risk of injuries to patients and first responders, and shorten treatment and transport times when caring for uncooperative patients.

For a free trial of XDcuff or more information, contact your local equipment distributor or contact David directly through his website, https://www.XDcuff.com/ 

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DAVID DUFEK started in EMS in 2006 as an EMT and currently works as flight medic and firefighter. He founded XDcuff in 2019 to improve safety for first responders and patients when treating uncooperative patients. Hundreds of departments across the USA and Canada utilize XDcuff tools.



















Step into the world of RESPONDER RESILIENCE, an insightful podcast that sheds light on the challenges and triumphs of firefighters, EMTs, dispatchers, and law enforcement professionals. Hear firsthand accounts from our community's finest as they discuss critical issues on the job and share their experiences with hosts Lt. David Dachinger (ret.), Bonnie Rumilly LCSW/EMT and Dr. Stacy Raymond. Explore topics of mental and physical wellness with emergency services thought leaders, and get ready to be inspired and gain a deeper appreciation for their sacrifices and resilience.




Copyright Notice: The materials provided on this web-based article are copyrighted and the intellectual property of the publishers/producers (The NY Cancer Resource Alliance/IntermediaWorx inc. and The AngioFoundation). It is provided publicly strictly for informational purposes within non-commercial use and not for purposes of resale, distribution, public display or performance. Unless otherwise indicated on this web based page, sharing, re-posting, re-publishing of this work is strictly prohibited without due permission from the publishers.  Also, certain content may be licensed from third-parties. The licenses for some of this Content may contain additional terms. When such Content licenses contain additional terms, we will make these terms available to you on those pages (which his incorporated herein by reference).The publishers/producers of this site and its contents such as videos, graphics, text, and other materials published are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, please always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health provider. Do not postpone or disregard any professional medical advice over something you may have seen or read on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately.  This website does not support, endorse or recommend any specific products, tests, physicians, procedures, treatment opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this site. Referencing any content or information seen or published in this website or shared by other visitors of this website is solely at your own risk. The publishers/producers of this Internet web site reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify, disable access to, or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, all or any part of this Internet web site or any information contained thereon without liability or notice to you.