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National Firefighter Registry Quarterly Newsletter

Winter 2020-2021
Welcome from the National Firefighter Registry Team Lead
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Greetings from NIOSH,

We are excited to share our latest newsletter with updates from Winter 2020-2021. Like many of you, my colleagues and I continue to work on COVID-19 response efforts. As I mentioned in previous newsletters, I encourage you to regularly check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for updated COVID-19 guidance. On the website you will find information to protect public health, including guidance for firefighters and EMS providers, as well as frequently asked questions (FAQs) for wildland firefighters.

CDC has also developed a communication toolkit to help employers build confidence in their workforce for the important new COVID-19 vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries provide information about COVID-19 vaccines, increase awareness about vaccination benefits, and address common questions and concerns. The toolkit contains a variety of resources, including key messages, FAQs, posters, newsletter content, and more.

We continue to make progress on the National Firefighter Registry (NFR). We are working diligently to open the NFR for registration. As part of this effort, we are focusing our resources on creating a robust and secure registration system, and we need to test and implement all the necessary data security and privacy measures to ensure the NFR is safe, secure, and easy to use before opening for enrollment.

In this issue learn about the podcast the NFR team contributed to in recognition of Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month in January. We also marked the month with a CDC feature on on cancer risk in firefighters. Read on to find links to the article and podcast and 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,


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Kenny Fent, PhD, CIH


Research Industrial Hygienist/Team Lead

National Firefighter Registry Program


Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month
International Association of Fire Fighters Podcast

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) recorded a series of episodes of their IAFF Podcast to mark January as Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness Month. NFR teammembers Dr. Kenny Fent and Dr. Miriam Siegel were featured on the January 4 podcast. In the episode, Drs. Fent and Siegel discuss the background of the NFR, how it will operate, and what we hope it will accomplish. We appreciate IAFF offering us the opportunity to discuss the NFR on their podcast. Please visit the link or search for the IAFF Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

CDC Feature

We also marked Fire Fighter Cancer Awareness month with a CDC Feature on cancer risk in firefighters. CDC Features cover important public health issues and are promoted to over 100,000 people, making them a valuable tool for raising awareness of important issues. The feature on cancer in the fire service discusses what we know about the risks firefighters face and how the NFR will increase that knowledge. The article also lists several for more information on NIOSH research and information on firefighters.

New Scientific Publication

NFR team members Dr. Fent and Alex Mayer recently coauthored a journal article titled, “Effects of firefighting hood design, laundering, and doffing” that is available online in Ergonomics. The article reports on collaborative research done by the Illinois Fire Service Institute, Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute, and NIOSH. While this research took place outside of the NFR program, we believe it is important to share useful information with our stakeholders as it becomes available and we will continue to do so as we anticipate more articles coming in the future.

Ongoing Work and Next Steps

We continue to work hard to ensure the NFR will be as comprehensive and secure as possible to maximize its impact once registration begins.

Currently, we are developing plans and materials to help raise awareness of the NFR, so please stay tuned, as we realize our success will depend on collaborating with our important fire service partners.

We would also like to recognize Dr. Virginia Weaver who is leaving the National Firefighter Registry Subcommittee (NFRS) due to a new career opportunity. The NFRS  includes a range of experts and was established to provide independent advice and guidance to the NFR team. We thank Dr. Weaver for offering her time to serve on the NFRS and for her valuable contributions to the NFR. We will announce Dr. Weaver’s replacement on the NFRS when we finalize the appointment.

Next Steps for the NFR
  • Continue developing the NFR web portal for participant registration so that it is safe, secure, and easy to use.
  • Continue conversations with firefighters, fire departments, state agencies, and other stakeholders 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 stakeholders.