The Millburn Fire Department is observing Fire Safety Stand Down Week the week of June 17 – 23 to raise awareness and action around preventing injuries and deaths among firefighters and emergency first responders.

The annual event is a joint initiative of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council. This year’s theme is “Be Aware — Get Checked” and the observance will focus on the importance of annual medical evaluations and overall health and wellness. There will also be a focus on safety and risk prevention.

In addition to the constant risk of injuries and death in the line of duty, firefighters have an increased risk of heart attacks and cancer. According to research conducted by Washington-based firefighter Mark Noble, who died of cancer in 2005, firefighters are several times more likely to get brain cancer, leukemia, and many more types of life-threatening cancers. They also face the increased risk of cardiovascular strain due to various factors, including the more than 100 pounds of gear they wear when fighting a structure fire, often in excruciatingly hot conditions.

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During Fire Safety Stand Down Week, members of the Millburn Fire Department will participate in daily discussions and training exercises on the topics of wellness and injury prevention. The Department has also partnered with Saint Barnabas Medical Center to offer free, confidential medical screenings to all on- and off-duty firefighters at the Fire Department headquarters.

“Firefighter wellness and safety is a cause that I’m very passionate about,” said Captain Adam Brenner, the Millburn Fire Department’s Training Officer. “Every day, our firefighters bravely risk their health and their lives to safeguard our community residents, and their homes and businesses. It’s equally important that we keep our dedicated, hard-working firefighters healthy and safe.”

For more information, visit www.safetystanddown.org.