National Firefighter Registry Quarterly Newsletter (Summer 2021)

Summer 2021

Welcome from the National Firefighter Registry Team Lead

closeup of a man in a suit (Kenny Fent, PhD, CIH)
Greetings from NIOSH,

We are excited to share our latest updates from the Registry. Like many of you, my colleagues and I continue to work on COVID-19 response efforts. Please continue to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 website for the latest information and resources, including the vaccine communication toolkit CDC developed to help employers build confidence in their workforce for the important COVID-19 vaccine. The toolkit contains a variety of resources, including key messages, FAQs, posters, newsletter content, and more to help promote vaccination.

We continue to make progress on the National Firefighter Registry (NFR) here at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In August we held another National Firefighter Registry Subcommittee meeting to discuss options for the NFR enrollment system.

Read on for more information about the meeting and the newest program details. Stay connected with the NFR by visiting Please stay safe and well. We look forward to seeing or hearing from you in the future.

Kind regards,
a signature
Kenny Fent, PhD, CIH

Research Industrial Hygienist/Team Lead
National Firefighter Registry Program

National Firefighter Registry Subcommittee Meeting

We met once again with the National Firefighter Registry Subcommittee (NFRS)—part of the NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC)—on August 13 to update them on our progress and future plans. The BSC established the NFRS to provide independent advice and guidance from a range of experts, including public health practitioners, epidemiologists, clinicians with cancer expertise, career firefighters, state health officials, and officials from state departments of homeland security.

During the August 13 meeting, Dr. Kenny Fent provided a project status report, and Mr. Mike Loudermilk of NIOSH’s Office of Information Technology discussed proposed designs for the NFR enrollment system and login process. NFRS members considered this information, as well as comments from members of the public, and discussed potential paths forward.

We would like to thank the NFRS for its continued support and for their valuable contributions to the NFR’s project design. We would also like to thank those that submitted public comments—both written and verbal—for their interest in the NFR and its success. The NFR team will use the information we received at the meeting to guide the development of the NFR enrollment system.

To see more about the NFRS, please visit the NFRS website.

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To see more about the NFRS

Please visit the National Firefighter Registry Subcommittee (NFRS) website.

Recent Events

Collaborative Research Study with the Illinois Fire Service Institute

From July 12-July 20, the NFR team accompanied NIOSH colleagues to conduct a field study in collaboration with the Illinois Fire Service Institute. While this study is not part of the NFR program, the research applies to the fire service and our overarching goal of reducing cancer in firefighters. The study evaluated the chemical protective properties of different configurations of turnout gear during training fires. NIOSH staff conducted air and surface sampling and biological monitoring from participating firefighters to determine the protection offered by types of turnout gear and base-layer clothing.

Two firemen entering a burning building

Firefighters participating in training exercises as part of the study. Photo by NIOSH

Upcoming Events and Next Steps

Upcoming events

NIOSH’s Dr. Miriam Siegel will be speaking at the Scientific Committee on Epidemiology in Occupational Health’s 28th International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health (EPICOH 2021) in October 2021. The date and time of her presentation are still to be determined, so keep an eye out for it if you plan to attend the symposium.

Dr. Kenny Fent will be giving an update on the NFR to the NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) during their meeting scheduled for October 5, 2021. Dr. Fent’s presentation is scheduled to start at 2:15PM EDT. More details about this meeting, including how to register and attend, are available on the BSC website.

Next Steps for the NFR

  • Continue developing the NFR enrollment system (web portal) for participant registration
  • Continue developing communication materials and other outreach materials for different fire service audiences
  • Continue conversations with firefighters, fire departments, state agencies, and other partners about the best way to share information on the NFR and obtain their support
  • Continue planning for an online symposium that will provide an opportunity to share the most current NFR information with partners