Water, and lots of it, is one of a firefighter’s most powerful weapons. But a small vial of blood can also go a long way in saving lives among their ranks.
Virginia Beach is screening hundreds of firefighters this week for more than 50 types of cancer — which is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in departments nationwide.
As part of a long-term response to the 2012 crash of a Navy fighter jet into an apartment complex, department and city leadership have invested in testing all current firefighters ages 21 and older, along with retirees who responded to the Good Friday crash.
Norman Williams, battalion chief for health and wellness at the Virginia Beach Fire Department, said he initially saw Chesapeake firefighters receive cancer screening, so he began looking into options for VBFD. It took a few months to get it organized, he said, but once it was announced that it would be offered to the firefighters, he’s received positive feedback.