BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – Two Bristol, Virginia firefighters are gearing up for a trip to the state capitol to push for change and remember their fallen brothers and sisters.
Michael Wise and Bryan Boyd of the Bristol, Virginia Professional Firefighters Association are heading to Richmond to meet with local lawmakers to talk cancer prevention.
They’re also joining other departments for the “Walk the Line” cancer walk coming up on Tuesday.
“Firefighters are exposed to the most egregious cancer causing agents in the United States through the course of their duties. Firefighters have a higher rate of cancer over the general population,” Wise said.
The walk is to push for legislative action and remember those who’ve died from cancer while on the job.
“Now you’re seeing more synthetics, more plastics, more chemicals that go to treat those woods and go into construction and different materials, and what that does is ultimately those things burn, those chemicals get released, and that’s what gets impregnated in our skin, we absorb it, we inhale it,” Boyd said.
Wise and Boyd tell News Channel 11 that several retired Bristol, Va. firefighters have died from occupational related cancers and one firefighter currently has prostate cancer.
The walk is also pushing for improvements to workers’ compensation laws.
“Worker’s compensation law is forcing firefighters to identify specific cancer causing exposure which is almost nearly impossible on every fire,” Bristol, Va. Professional Firefighters Association President Michael Wise said.
The “Walk the Line” cancer walk will start at Richmond Fire Station 13 and end at Capitol Square.
It begins at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.