WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters President Mike Taylor on a news conference call as President Trump signed Brown’s bipartisan legislation to establish a voluntary cancer registry for firefighters into law. Brown’s bill, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create and maintain a voluntary registry to collect data on cancer incidence among firefighters. The data collected by the registry will be used with existing state data to better assess and prevent cancer among firefighters. The Senate passed Brown’s bill by unanimous consent in May.
“While the rest of us run from danger, firefighters run toward it,” said Brown. “And when they rush into the flames they’re not just putting their lives on the line – even firefighters who come home safely face long-term health risks. We know this is just a first step and there’s a lot more work to do to protect our first responders. But this bill will help us make progress.”
Brown was joined on the call by President Taylor to discuss why the voluntary cancer registry is an important tool for firefighters as experts work to assess and prevent cancer among firefighters.
“The Fire Fighter Cancer Registry will help gather important data about fire fighters with occupational cancer,” commented Mike Taylor, President of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters who is currently battling his own occupational cancer. “This data will provide scientists with the specialized information they need for research to help strengthen our understanding of the link between fire fighting and cancer and help bolster our presentation and safety protocols.”
In addition to establishing the volunteer registry, Brown’s bill requires the CDC to develop a strategy to maximize participation, develop guidance for state agencies, encourage inclusion among participants and to seek feedback from nonfederal experts. The CDC would also be required to ensure the data collected is made public and accessible for research.
The legislation has support from several major fire organizations, including the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and the International Fire Services Training Association.