Calif. Firefighters Shave Heads to Support Crew Member's Battle with Cancer

Calif. Firefighters Shave Heads to Support Crew Member's Battle with Cancer

News Nov 14, 2017

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Nov. 14—Before Monday, San Diego firefighters James Shandoan and Anthony Saner had never sported a buzz cut.

They were among a dozen firefighters who one by one sat in a chair in front of their fire station in downtown San Diego, allowing a hair stylist to shave their heads in the cool, evening breeze. They got the haircuts done to show their solidarity with fellow Station One firefighter Nick Hibbs, who is battling cancer.

"I know it's something he would do for us, so I didn't hesitate," Saner said, adding that his new cut was "the shortest I've ever had my hair."

Hibbs, who is undergoing chemotherapy, is a member of the city's bomb-squad. He is a father of two children and married to his high school sweetheart, fellow firefighters said.

He is "tough as nails—one of the hardest-working people we have," said fire Capt. Larry Rawlings.

He and other Station One firefighters said Monday's gesture was a nod to their brotherhood.

"We grow very close, so when somebody is having a personal issue we always want to make sure they know that, just like family, we're there for them and have their back," Rawlings said.

According to the national Firefighter Cancer Support Network, firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer than the general U.S. population.

"As firefighters, we can be exposed to a lifetime of toxins in terms of smoke and carcinogens at the scene of an incident in a very compressed period of time, in just a matter of one or two fires," said firefighter Kurtis Bennett, who manages the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's cancer awareness and prevention program.

Continue Reading

To combat the risks, San Diego firefighters are urged to wear their air masks for longer while battling fires and to clean their gear once they return to their station, Bennett said, adding that the Fire Department is buying better washing machines.

Rawlings, like other fellow firefighters, said there's no doubt in his mind Hibbs will "beat" cancer.

"Nick is someone that always seems indestructible to us," the captain said. "His cancer is not going to get the best of him."

Colleagues also have shown their support for Hibbs by providing meals for his family and helping with yard cleanup, Bennett said.

David Hernandez
Amber Williams, 24, gave her 17-month-old son cocaine and put him into a cold bath after he consumed the opiates, requiring five doses of Narcan from firefighters to revive him.
Onslow County EMS reported the frequent use of Narcan last year cost the agency $19,000.
Tonya Johnson, 43, was hit and killed by a pickup truck when she exited her vehicle on a highway.
Hazleton firefighters gathered used equipment and a truck from local companies to donate to Santo Domingo's fire department.
Nine Mile Rescue Squad is hosting a fundraiser to help pay for the captain's young nephew's funeral.
Trauma surgeons led the 'Train the Trainers' class for first responders in response to the increased frequency of mass shootings.
The city of Victorville aims to run the San Bernardino County Fire Department to save an estimated 5.2% on operational costs after 5 years.
After two people died falling through ice, the Wichita Fire Department is warning people to stay away from frozen ponds as warmer temperatures thins the ice.
The 55-bed Addiction and Stabilization Center offers immediate and long-term care to overdose patients to relieve hospital emergency rooms.
In December, Care Flight awarded 20 of its critical care medical team members with recognition for advanced study, skills, and achievements.
New default settings on electronic medical records systems remind doctors to limit opioid prescriptions to 10 pills for acute pain treatment.
The March 31st, 2018 event is a nation-wide, free course on the principles of bleeding control and providing first aid until the arrival of emergency responders.
Residents affected by the October Bear Fire raised $4,500 for Boulder Creek Fire Department to show their gratitude for saving their homes.
The second annual First Responder Challenge raises money for families of personnel killed in the line of duty.
Quick-fire last-day sessions examine various aspects of running programs.