This last season as a fire wife has opened my eyes up to something that I strongly believe us fire wives need to know more about. At the same time, I believe it is as equally if not more important for our firefighters to be aware of this subject too. Let’s talk about firefighter cancer. But I don’t want to just talk about it. I want to share another fire wife’s story, I want to provide some companies who are relentless in their journeys to help prevent and reduce the high risk of cancer in the fire service. I want to help bring awareness that there are changes to be made. I have mentioned a little about this subject in other blogs, but it wasn’t until I realized how many of my fellow fire wives were out of the loop on how we can be helping our husbands. There was a lot of talk of “I wish there was something for this or that to help my husband” and “I am worried about the things he is coming into contact with.” That thought process is the first step. It wasn’t long ago when I never really thought about it much. I was throwing a load of laundry in the wash and it wasn’t quite a full load. I saw my husband’s fire clothes sitting there and thought “oh I can wash those too.” My husband happened to see me putting his clothes in the wash with the others and asked, “what I was doing?” I thought “I am doing laundry and your laundry so what’s the problem?” He told me how he didn’t want his clothes mixed with ours because he didn’t know what was on them. Wow, I had never thought of that, but it made total sense. Looking back, it is a little embarrassing to admit but it is the truth, and I was clueless. It’s a memory though that stuck so hard that when I started this blog and started learning about all these companies who are there to help with this, I knew I had to write this blog. Now, it is highly rare that he even brings his clothes home to wash. Over the last year or so I have also witnessed the effects that cancer has on the body while watching my sister in her journey with breast cancer. It is not something I would ever wish on anyone to go through. She had the amazing news of being cancer free and is still going through treatments. It is not until you watch a loved one go through something hard that you feel the desire to really think about your daily choices and take precautions. And think what can I change and how can I help. That’s what this blog is about.
I thought it would be important to bring on someone who has lived the fire wife life and the hard truth of cancer. My neighbor for the past two and a half years has shared her story with me, and I felt it was an important part of this blog. So, let me introduce Carlene. She has been a widow for a little over 23 years. Her husband Larry was had part of his colon taken out and a couple years later at 55 passed from a cancer called Numb Chin Syndrome. He was leaving behind Carlene, a son and a daughter. He was a career firefighter for CDF or what is now called Cal Fire. She recalled during our conversation about different fires her husband went on. One story was how she remembered a drug store in our downtown area that was burning down. Her husband had worked that fire and never wore an apparatus. She talked about how back then they didn’t wear masks or have the equipment that they do now. And an even crazier part of her story was how they used agent orange at the station. Her husband was also a veteran and served in the Air Force during Vietnam. But, part of the reason that they didn’t have equipment was because the department couldn’t afford a lot of it. It was a time in firefighting when things were done a whole different way. Leading up to the days that her husband passed, his department as well as the community was helpful in all the paperwork and just being there for them. Carlene and her son were flown out to see her husband’s name on the memorial wall in Colorado. The one thing she said she thought was so important during her husband’s time as a firefighter was, having other wives to relate to. They really relied on each other when their husbands were gone and it made all the difference for her. Having that conversation with her really opened my eyes up to, the progress that has been made and the progress that still needs to be made. Each company that I will be mentioning next is doing their part in seeing that our firefighters are given a shot to beat their odds of contracting cancer in the fire service.
So, let me introduce you to the first featured company in this blog…Last Line of Cancer Defense, LLC. Joseph started this company with wanting to make a difference and do something more. The products that he has to offer are detox soap made with activated charcoal, a gross decon sprayer kit, overhaul firefighter detox supplements, and clothing items which 10% of proceeds go towards the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. Besides these products they mainly go to stations and different fire departments to teach about cancer awareness and prevention. They also consult with departments on how to help make their policies and procedures, stations, fire trucks, and the fitness and wellness programs better. They do this in order to keep firefighter’s healthy and as cancer free as possible. Joe and his wife are truly very kind and genuine people who care for the wellbeing of others.
Firewipes is the next company I would like to add. I recently did just do a full blog review on this company, so feel free to check that out as well. I would love to do the same for all the other companies I am mentioning today. Firewipes are truly amazing. They are individual packaged wipes to help wipe down after or during a fire. My husband has been able to use these 8×12 wipes and really likes them. The less that the soot and carcinogens sit on our firefighter’s skin the better. They are very clean smelling and work really great. Definitely something I would recommend your firefighter’s having on hand.
While visiting the station you may have noticed this next company in your firefighter’s laundry room. I know I have noticed this brand in a lot of the stations I have visited. CitroSqueeze is the next featured company. They offer detergent and cleaner for turnout gear PPE (personal protective equipment). They also offer an all-purpose cleaner called SC-14 that can be used for anything from the engine to the kitchen. Both products would be great to have on hand at home as well. Each of their products they offer help mitigate carcinogens, sticking to and eliminating the harmful contaminants on the gear when washed. Knowing that there is a product to trust wash our fireman’s clothes and help eliminating those harmful cancer-causing materials is amazing!
Now let’s talk about Toxic Suppression. They offer a way to help our firefighter’s decon. Their ember suds soap bars come in a detox bar and a daily bar. The charcoal in these soap bars help the body detox the harmful chemicals absorbed through the skin. Toxic Suppression offers their soap bars in full and half sizes making it nice to add in an out of county bag, for those big fires. As, well as keeping one at the station. I must say they smell pretty good too. A few other things they offer are hand repair for their hard-working hands, stickers, hats and shirts. This is another great option.
Last but certainly not least, Responder Wipes and the DOT System. I combined these two together because the person who you would contact to get your hands on either one is the same. Tanya is a wealth of knowledge and works hard in different areas concerning firefighter cancer. The responder wipes provide a way to wipe down during and after a fire. They come in different sizes and in single or multi-packs. They also smell really good. The DOT system is an encapsulation system for gear and PPE’s. Firefighters would have a place to take their contaminated gear off and enclose it, while also having their clean clothes right there to change into. After taking the gear off and zipped up in the DOT system this also helps prevent any release of gases or toxins in the engine. They are washable to keep clean and reuse.
Each and every one of these products are unique in their own designs and share a common purpose. They all have big hearts and are striving to better the quality of life for our firefighters. Creating their products to help eliminate the toxic and cancerous situations our firefighters face almost every day. I am very thankful for every one of them. Please go check out the new tab “links” where the websites to each of these companies will be listed. As well as past featured companies. Let us take the initiative and help our firefighters beat their odds and help reduce the risk of firefighter cancer. It is something that should not be taken lightly. Help support these companies who are supporting our firefighters. Besides the link each company can be found on social media to follow and see what they are all about.