Federal grant to allow Glendale Fire Department to screen firefighters for cancer

Feb 9, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 9:59 pm

(Facebook Photo/Glendale Fire Department)...

(Facebook Photo/Glendale Fire Department)

(Facebook Photo/Glendale Fire Department)

PHOENIX — The Glendale Fire Department has received a nearly $1 million federal grant that will allow more than 250 sworn firefighters to be screened for cancer.

Glendale Fire Capt. Ashley Losch told KTAR News 92.3 FM that FEMA’s firefighter assistance grant will fund two years of cancer screenings through the Vincere Cancer Center, but it won’t end there.

“Now that we’re going to get it off the ground we’re super excited because the city has agreed to continue doing these screenings beyond the grant period,” Losch said.

The department is still working out the details of how the funding will work with the city, but Losch stresses the funding is essential to save lives.

“This disease is killing firefighters daily across the country, it is the leading reason why we are dying and up until now we haven’t been doing screenings for it,” Losch said.

Each firefighter in the department will get their own customized plan for how often they need to be screened for cancer, Losch said.

“We’ve broken everybody into a high or low-risk factor, and that has to do with how many years on the job they have, if they’ve worked on the hazards materials team, and their age,” she said.

Losch added some of the firefighters may need to be screened every few years, while for others it may be once a year.

The testing is not required, Losch said, but the majority of firefighters will utilize it.

“People are excited to do it, which I know sounds weird, but when you haven’t had it and are worried about it, it’s been in the back of your mind and we’ve been talking about cancer… to know that they’re going to have resources available and support from the city is really great.”

The department started doing blood draws and screenings earlier this week.

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Federal grant to allow Glendale Fire Department to screen firefighters for cancer