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Wayne Kewitsch brings 25 years of experience in Minnesota’s fire service — and harrowing, first-hand understanding of the dangers firefighters face — to his new role helping firefighters across the state as MnFIRE’s first executive director. On Sunday, KSTP’s Eric Chaloux spoke with Kewitsch about his 20 years with the Richfield Fire Department, including the...
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While civilians may experience traumatic events only a few times in their life, firefighters experience stressful events on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. As a result, research shows that those in the fire service experience much higher rates of mental health challenges than the general population – particularly in the areas of sleep disorders, depression,...
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2020 was one of the deadliest years in modern memory for Minnesota firefighters, including multiple suicides of active firefighters, numerous deaths from cancer and two Line of Duty Deaths from cardiac issues. On Sunday, Roshini Rakjumar spoke with MnFIRE president George Esbensen on WCCO Radio’s Real Talk With Roshini about this critical time and the...
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Did you know? The rate of line-of-duty deaths from cancer-related illness is rapidly increasing and is on pace to overtake cardiac disease as the leading killer of firefighters nationwide. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 68 percent of all firefighters will develop some form of cancer in their lifetimes. This is a...
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By Dr. Margaret Gavian, Medical Director, MnFIRE Stress, and particularly traumatic stress, is an occupational hazard of being a firefighter. All first responders have a particularly high exposure rate to traumatic stress inducing incidents. Doing chest compressions on an unconscious child, working to free a mother trapped in her vehicle after a collision, being with...
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There is a crisis in our fire service – more and more Minnesota firefighters are tragically losing their lives due to cancer, cardiac and emotional trauma issues. Sadly, this crisis doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon – and with COVID-19, we can only expect it to get worse. Beyond the virus...
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Firefighters experience higher rates of certain types of diagnoses and cancer-related deaths compared to the general U.S. population, according to a multi-year study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 68% of firefighters will develop some form of cancer in their lifetimes. The rate of line-of-duty deaths from cancer-related illness is...
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Cardiovascular disease is the number-one killer of firefighters nationwide and is by far the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service. According to the International Association of Firefighters, more than 12 percent of all firefighters will develop heart disease at some point in their lives. Even young and healthy firefighters suffer from hardened...
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Minnesota musician Larry Long was inspired to write “Firefighter” – along with Eden Prairie’s retired-fire chief (and current MnFIRE president) George Esbensen – after he accompanied firefighters on a call to a business fire. “While on that fire run I was so deeply struck by the brave and hardworking people that save our lives daily....
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A lot of people talk about wanting to forget 2020 ever happened, but for MnFIRE, there’s at least one thing created this year we want to keep with us as we move forward: the powerful anthem designed to call attention to our mission. In January, the Minnesota Firefighter Initiative (MnFIRE) and American singer-songwriter Larry Long...
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