Symposium for Occupational Hygiene in the Fire Service

5th global seminar on occupational cancer among firefighters

Foto: Rettungskräfte im Einsatz


Logo: Crisis Prevention


At a glance

© Klaus Maurer

10:00 – 10:45 h

Keynote: Development FeuerKrebs in Germany – How everything started! Chronological order of the expert conference – Where did it all start, where do we stand today and where do we go?

For several years now an increasing number of fire brigades, also in Germany, have dealt with this fundamentally important issue. The relationship between our firefighting work and an increased cancer risk as a result of our body absorbing carcinogenic substances is unfortunately not taken seriously yet across the board. With our activities we want to raise awareness and create a new mindset!

Mr. Marcus Bätge, FeuerKrebs gUG (limited liability) Managing Director

© FeuerKrebs gUG

10:45 – 11:00 h


11:00 – 11:45 h

Fire Fighting and Occupational Cancer

I will be describing the issue of occupational cancer and firefighting. In addition, I will be looking at the latest science and how countries around the world have dealt with this issue, as it relates to compensation and prevention.

Mr. B.a. B.l. Alex Forrest , United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg , President

© Alex Forrest

Thorsten Kock

11:45 – 12:30 h

Occupational Health & Safety Prevention

Ken G. Block, Executive Chief Fire Officer and President of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, will share his experience in shifting fire service organisational culture, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services’ progressive actions and holistic approach to physical and mental readiness, the Canadian Association of Fire Chief's strategic relationships and Edmonton's ten years’ historical impacts of presumptive legislation on occupational cancer on long-term and short-term disability costs.

Mr. Ken Block, City of Edmonton Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Executive Chief Fire Officer

© Ken Block

Dick van Wageningen

12:30 – 13:30 h


13:30 – 14:15 h

The Australian Firefighter Experience

The “Australian Firefighter Experience” presents the journey of the United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFUA) in securing groundbreaking presumptive legislation for Australian career firefighters. The presentation also details the UFUA’s involvement in subsequent legislative reviews and presents examples of career firefighters who have benefited from the legislation, focusing on case studies in Queensland and Tasmania.

Mr. Peter Marshall, United Firefighters Union of Australia, National Secretary

© Peter Marshall

Erik Volz

14:15 – 15:00 h

Firefighters' exposure to chemical agents in training conditions

Firefighters' exposed to various chemicals through the different exposure routes during obligatory smoke diving trainings. Firefighters’ exposure data, when they use different simulation techniques in smoke diving training, will be shown. The effects of technical tools and personal behavioural means for reducing exposure in practice, will also been demonstrated. As a conclusion, recommendations for exposure reduction in trainings given for Finnish firefighters are listed.  

Mr. PhD, adjunct Professor Juha Laitinen, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health Work Environment

© Juha Laitinen

Grégoire Zündel

15:00 - 15:15 h


15:15 – 16:00 h

Cancer prevention, studies and presumptive legislation in Denmark.

Mr. Tommy Kjaer, BrandFolkenes Cancerforening BFC / Danish Firefighters Cancer Organization President

© Tommy Kjaer

Heinrich Degelo

09:30 – 10:15 h

Cancer risk in fire fighting? Research project by DGUV

This project aims to establish whether and the extent to which carcinogenic polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are absorbed by fire servicemen during fire fighting. To this end, fire fighters’ internal and dermal exposure to these substances are studied under real operational conditions. In the process the average exposure as well as the variability of exposure is established for pre-defined operation scenarios.

Mr. Dipl. Biol. Tim Pelzl, Deutsche gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e.V. (German Statutory Accident Insurance) Head of Department for Fire and Emergency Services, Fire Protection

© Tim Pelzl

Cancer risk in fire fighting? Presentation of the Human Biomonitoring Study

Herr Dr. Dirk Taeger, Research Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, institute of the Ruhr University Bochum (IPA)

© IPA / Volker Wiciok

10:15 – 11:00 h

Central exposure database (ZED) – Substantiation for Handling Carcinogenic Substances

Fire fighters are exposed to carcinogenic substances. As a result cancer diseases can occur after long latency periods. Without documentation a correlation between the disease and professional exposure is hard to establish. §14.3 of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances has contained duties since 2005: in the event of a corresponding hazardous situation employees shall keep a register of exposure for 40 years and hand it over to employees. They can use the ZED for complying with this requirement.

Ms. Dr. Susanne Zöller, Institute for Work Protection (Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e.V.)
ZED Department 1.3

© Susanne Zöller

Joachim Schäfer
Dr. Christian Schramm

11:00 – 11:15 h


Thorsten Kock

11:15 – 12:00 h

Approaches from practitioners for practitioners

Which solutions / approaches does the separation of “dirty/clean” zones offer for protecting fire fighting forces? This lecture will flag up the problems during and after operations but also highlight various possibilities / approaches for “dirty/clean” separation.

Mr. Marco Pfeuffer,  Professional Fire Brigade Mannheim, Team Education and Further Training Senior Fire Officer

© Marco Pfeuffer

Dick van Wageningen

12:00 – 12:45 h

The Advantage of LCO2 Extraction on Occupational Hygiene

The Fire Services are in a transitional phase in terms of occupational hygiene. The membrane of the gear is filled with carcinogenic substances, which can't be removed with water. During our presentation, we will shed light on the advantages of LCO2 extraction, with the use of test results from a notified body.

Mr. Thomas Verminck, DECONTEX NV Management, CEO

Erik Volz

12:45 – 13:45 h

Break / End