Laguna Beach Fire Captain Scott Jennie, core, of the Laguna Beach Professional Firefighters Association raffles off awards to raise money for the Firefighter Support Cancer Network Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 at the Laguna Beach Beer Company in Laguna Beach. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)
Laguna Beach Engineer Chris Ornelas, left, and Fire Capt. Scott Jennie, in Laguna Beach, CA on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. They are trying to raise awareness of cancer caused by ingesting toxins while pushing shells. “You look at all the hydrocarbon foams, coating, engineered log and plastics, and when they burn they become a harmful soup we’re baking in, ” Jennie said.( Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/ SCNG)
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Winner Moe Howson acts after prevailing a raffle pillage as the Laguna Beach Professional Firefighters Association raffles off awards to raise money for the Firefighter Support Cancer Network Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 at the Laguna Beach Beer Company in Laguna Beach. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)
The Laguna Beach Beer Company is bundled with firefighters and contributors as the Laguna Beach Professional Firefighters Association raffles off medals to raise money for the Firefighter Support Cancer Network Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 at the Laguna Beach Beer Company in Laguna Beach. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)
Laguna Beach Fire Captain Scott Jennie, left, presents a check for $ 10,000 to the Fire Cancer Support Network following a fundraiser in Laguna Beach on Jan. 24.( Photo courtesy of Scott Jennie)
Soot comes out of Engineer Chris Ornelas’s arm a month after he campaigned the Thomas Fire. Doctors had no answer why it happened.( Photo courtesy of Scott Jennie)
Laguna Beach firefighters roll out as the Laguna Beach Professional Firefighters Association raffles off honours to raise money for the Firefighter Support Cancer Network Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 at the Laguna Beach Beer Company in Laguna Beach. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)
Laguna Beach Fire Capt. Scott Jennie, left, and Engineer Chris Ornelas in Laguna Beach, CA on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. They are trying to raise awareness of cancer caused by ingesting toxins while contending shoots. “You look at all the hydrocarbon suds, coating, engineered log and plastics, and when they burn they become a poisonous soup we’re baking in, ” Jennie said.( Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/ SCNG)
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Laguna Beach Fire Captain Scott Jennie was ravaged when two colleagues both died from cancer in the same year.
It was 2012. Capt. Ron Rowe had leukemia. Capt. Steen Jensen had colon cancer.
From left, Laguna Beach Fire Captains Ron Rowe and Steen Jensen.
” It was awful, Ron was the first captain I got to know ,” said Jennie.” He was a class act, his death actually feigned me. Steen and I were both paramedics, I communicated with him until the day he died. When he passed away, he was a shell of himself. Both those demises rocked me to my core. I don’t want anyone to go through what I met Steen and Ron go through .”
To Jennie, who has been in the fire services for 34 years, their deaths didn’t seem a coincidence.
Passionate about reducing firefighter exposure to carcinogens, Jennie has been on a decade-long crusade to change the culture of the profession, in which many still consider a soot-covered helmet and dirty gear a stamp of courage.
Soot comes out of Engineer Chris Ornelas’ forearm a month after he defended the Thomas Fire. Doctors had no answer why it happened.( Photo courtesy of Scott Jennie)
” I pictured, we really need to change the method we’re doing things ,” Jennie said.” Back in the working day, we’d have unclean boots and breathes next to our plots so we could rush right into them .”
Recently, Jennie, 54, unionized a fundraiser to support the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, a national nonprofit that helps firefighters and their families are dealing with cancers while providing information about cancer risks and prevention. The Jan. 24 happen put one over by the Laguna Beach Firefighters Association collected $10,000.
The network started in 2005, two years after Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighter/ paramedic Mike Dubron found out he had cancer at senility 39. The structure duos sick firefighters with instructors who have endured. They too are given a ” toolbox ” that helps them plan all of their medical decisions, lab tests and physician information.
Laguna Beach Engineer Chris Ornelas, left, and Fire Capt. Scott Jennie, in Laguna Beach. They are trying to raise awareness of cancer caused by ingesting toxins while contending fervours. “You look at all the hydrocarbon suds, coating, engineered log and plastics, and when they burn they become a toxic soup we’re baking in, ” Jennie said.( Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/ SCNG) Greater jeopardy of cancer demise
Jennie, who labels himself a” investigate dweeb ,” was concerned about health and wellness before Rowe and Jensen got sick. But their extinctions specified a greater sense of urgency.
He obtained a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that locate firefighters had a 9% greater probability than the average population of going cancer and a 14% higher possibility of dying from it. The experiment analyzed 30,000 firefighters who served between 1950 and 2009.
As he reviewed the data, he recalled, he learned of more Southern California firefighters diagnosed with cancer.
In 2016, then-Laguna Beach Fire Chief Kirk Summers told Jennie about Bryan Frieders , now a split prime with the Pasadena Fire Department, who was then — and still is — the president of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.
Jennie questioned Frieders to make a presentation to the Laguna Beach Fire Department. In it, Frieders shared some alarming statistics, including the right between January 2002 and January 2016, 61% of firefighter fatalities were the result of cancer, according to the International Association of Firefighters.
In 2017, firefighter cancer deaths increased to 74%. By 2018, it was at 78%.
” We didn’t know these existed when we were young firefighters ,” said Jennie, who started as a volunteer firefighter for the Orange County Fire Authority at Cypress Station 12 in 1986.” We can change the culture for the young firefighters but we don’t know what’s primed in our tubes .”
Research showed that firefighters are more likely to develop respiratory, digestive and urinary arrangement cancers than the public. Whether it’s asbestos in old-time builds or diesel exhaust, firefighters face carcinogens at each call including at trash shells, organize burns, wildland flamings, vehicle fires and from secondary show to off-gassing equipment.
There are more than 200 chemicals in smoke.
One betterment Jennie points to is the diesel fuel weary on fire engines.
” Now we have diesel spend distillation systems ,” he said.” When we pull into the fire station, we secure it up. Back in the day, we had diesel soot on the walls and inside the station.
” You look at all the hydrocarbon suds, coating, engineered lumber and plastics, and when they burn they become a toxic soup we’re baking in, ” he said.
Crusade stretches beyond Laguna
Jennie has pushed Laguna Beach Fire Department to make changes. He likewise asked that regaliums be laundered. Firefighters are issued two decides now — when one is used, it’s cleaned and the firefighter gives on the second set.
Jennie’s campaigns have spread beyond Laguna.
Collaboration with Capt. Jeff Hughes, who runs a cancer and wellness program for the Orange County Fire Authority and with Capt. Kristen Thompson from Newport Beach Fire is helping align the departments with same etiquettes when it is necessary to personal fortune reduction.
Last summer, Jennie became California’s Firefighter Cancer Support Network director. He created a educate guideline related to exposure reduction and in 2019 his bureau impounded a week of training on cancer prevention.
Jennie included erases to each of the department machines utilized by crews to remove smoke and debris from their skin.
He too developed a etiquette that established 11 initiatives to reduce exposure. Instances are using self-contained breathing apparatuses when engaging a fuel and keeping them on until the fuel is out. Another is immediate hygiene after a fire.
This month, kits — with a hose, cleanser, brush grazes, and luggage for grime paraphernalium — will be added to Laguna’s locomotives so firefighters can clean off immediately. Jennie is also assisting with the OC Operational Annex in put forward by a cancer prevention best rehearses guide for all agencies in Orange County. The struggle is being done with fire enterprises in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa.
Frieders commends Jennie’s the initiatives and said awareness is beginning to have an effect.
” If you look at any paint or media coverage, you verify firefighters with crock or grime on their face ,” Frieders said.” We’re trying to get the message out that that’s not the portrait of a good firefighter. We don’t want to dignify that as a medal of courage .”
Firefighting gear protects firefighters from the thermal impacts of fire but not from the carcinogens that get onto their skin.
Laguna Beach Fire Engineer Chris Ornelas knows that firsthand.
A month after fighting the Thomas Fire — a wildfire that destroyed Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in December 2017 — he experienced something that doctors still haven’t been able to explain.
A month after spend 17 periods going from one burning organize to another, Ornelas , now 44, was playing outside with his son when he got warm and taken away from a new sweater he was wearing.
After the sweater was removed, he noticed what first appeared to be lint on his arms, forehead, under his arms and the front of his neck.
” I took photos of it, I thought it was from the sweater ,” he said.” I transported it to Scott and he said,’ Dude, that’s soot on you’ and told me to see a doctor .”
Ornelas didn’t take Jennie seriously. But, some days later, when he broke into an uncontrollable coughing assault, he sought medical help.
” I couldn’t stop, and it scared the crap out of me ,” he said.
Doctors at UC Irvine Medical Center ascertained he had smoke-induced asthma. The surrounding was so severe that he couldn’t finish a sentence without running out of breath. Ornelas was off work for nearly two months.
As symptoms persisted, his thoughts turned to the soot that had appeared on his skin.
” Scott remained propagandizing me to see more doctors ,” Ornelas said.” He took my photos and used them to speak about exposure dangers. Come to find out, a good deal of other firefighters had had the same experience but precisely soaked it off .”
After visits to experts, Ornelas said he still doesn’t know what happened.
” Some physicians said bark is a blocker and it lastly exuded that out ,” he said.” But, why did it take a month? What was it doing in my mas instead of it ejecting itself? Where is it seeping to? Is it a maniac thing? Am I a clicking ticking bomb ?”
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Since his experience, Ornelas, who is Jennie’s engineer, is fully on board with Jennie’s efforts and is working to convince other firefighters.
” We have a positioned of suddenlies in our pockets ,” he said.” If we do have a fire, we bag up our gear, bath ourselves off and put one over the short-liveds. For a lot of chaps, it’s a inconvenience. They get into the engine and they are also smelling smoky.
” Scott gets a lot of pushback ,” he added.” We prevent our machine cleanse, our tools clean, but we want to be the dirtiest people — it’s so backward .”
Read more: ocregister.com.