Cancer Prevention Takes Center Stage At Retirement Conference

Firefighters Focus on Prevention

Twice a year the Mass. Association of Contributory Retirement Systems (MACRS) holds educational conferences designed to enhance the knowledge of board members and staff from the state’s 104 retirement systems. Beyond simply learning about investment practices and retirement law, attendees have the opportunity to grow their knowledge of some of the most important issues of our times.

At MACRS’ Annual Fall Conference, held in Springfield, attendees heard a detailed and emotional presentation on cancer prevention for firefighters. Helping lead the national movement to educate firefighters on best practices when it comes to preventing cancer, Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn and Lynn Fire Chief James McDonald delivered a heart-felt discussion on steps now being taken within their respective departments to better protect firefighters from deadly cancer-causing carcinogens prevalent at most modern fires.

Commissioner Finn, who led with a short video on the subject produced by Boston Firefighters Local 718, credited Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for taking the subject of cancer prevention seriously. The Commissioner pointed to the allocation of city resources to modernize services and better equip Boston firefighters.

“The number of firefighters falling victim to cancer continues to rise at an alarming rate. This is directly attributable to the chemicals used in modern building materials, furnishings and textiles found in our homes today,” explains MACRS Vice President James “Chet” Riley, who is also a retired Brookline firefighter. “Cancer is not only devastating to its victims and their families, but also has a terrible impact on the fire service. And from a retirement system perspective, we should be doing all we can to help educate our members and prevent future diagnoses from occurring.”