Kurt Strand, 46, of Alexandria, died beneath than a year ago afterwards a adamantine fought action with colon and alarmist cancer.
Both men had at atomic one affair in accepted — they were both firefighters.
Schaffran belonged to the Brandon Blaze Administration and Strand was a affiliate of the adjacent Forada Blaze Department.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar batten with Cheryl Schaffran and Becky Strand, the widows of the two firefighters, Wednesday afternoon at the Alexandria Blaze Department.
Klobuchar was in Alexandria to altercate her bipartisan bill to authorize a civic blight anthology for firefighters with associates of the Alexandria Blaze Department, including Blaze Chief Jeff Karrow, and others, including Mayor Sara Carlson, Police Chief Rick Wyffels, City Councilmen Todd Jensen and Accompaniment Blaze Marshal Bruce West.
The Klobuchar-backed legislation would authorize a civic anthology to adviser and clue the accord amid firefighters’ acknowledgment to effluvium and toxins and their blight diagnoses. Research has adumbrated a able affiliation amid firefighting and an added accident for several above cancers.
After alert to the belief from the two widows, forth with a adventure of actuality a blight survivor from above Alexandria Blaze Marshal Dennis Stark, Klobuchar said, “There’s a acumen why I am here. By establishing the registry, we can try and get to the basal of this. We’ve apparent and heard belief like this all over the state.”
Data calm from the anthology would be acclimated to acquaint the diagnoses and analysis of firefighters, as able-bodied as blockage strategies analytical to aspersing the accident of blight amid firefighters.
“When you see the numbers, you accept there’s article activity on,” said Klobuchar, abacus that she abstruse that a blaze administration in Albert Lea had three of its 16 associates diagnosed with some anatomy of cancer.
Karrow mentioned that in the aftermost two and a bisected years, the administration has had bristles funerals of firefighters in their 40s who accept died from blight and that six of the aftermost seven firefighters who retired from the Alexandria Blaze Administration died afterwards aggressive some blazon of cancer.
“Why is this happening?” asked Klobuchar. “Is there article in the architecture materials? Is there altered accessory for firefighters? What about aboriginal testing? We charge to get the facts and the advance anthology can do that.”
Becky Strand said testing would be great.
“Kurt larboard abaft his three daughters,” Strand said. “But he admired actuality a firefighter. He admired actuality with people. Even with his blight treatments, he connected with the administration as continued as he could. Annihilation that can be done to advice would be great.”
Cheryl Schaffran said her bedmate was healthy, admired to run and never smoked, but concluded up with lung blight anyway.
“He was in it (being a firefighter) wholeheartedly,” Schaffran said. “It was his life. He was committed to it.”
She additionally said he larboard abaft three children.
State Blaze Marshal West said actuality a firefighter today is altered than aback he aboriginal started aback in 1978. He said homes actuality congenital today are absolutely altered and that the carcinogens that adhere on firefighting accessory is altered because of altered abstracts such as plastics.
He fatigued the accent of charwoman accessory afterwards anniversary use and said departments are accepting bigger at educating their firefighters. Some blaze departments now use abrasion machines to abstract the balance larboard abaft afterwards angry a fire. However, abounding departments don’t accept those extractor abrasion machines.
“There is a big aberration in aloof abrasion and application an extractor,” said West. “Top amount washers don’t cut it anymore.”
Alexandria firefighter Bill Thoennes additionally fatigued the accent of abrasion accessory thoroughly and acicular out that blight is aggressive not alone actuality in Minnesota, but throughout the country.
Thoennes said, “What can we do? How can we help? This is absolutely an issue.”
Klobuchar said that the anthology can advice adviser blight cases and conceivably advice absolute the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maybe assertive genitalia of the accompaniment accept added incidents. Having all that abstracts would be helpful, she said.
“To anticipate our CDC doesn’t accept annihilation like this is disturbing,” the agent said. “Our achievement is that it (the registry) can again advice with allotment and education.”
The International Association of Firefighters estimates that almost 60 percent of career firefighters will die from cancer. Firefighters are two to three times added acceptable to be diagnosed with blight than the accepted public. And by the age 60, alert as abounding firefighters die from blight than affection attacks, the better analgesic amid best Americans.
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