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‘Be your own record keeper': Firefighter exposure tracking

Incident reports can be helpful, but do you recall the date and address of every incident you ever responded to? You need something more.

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for my friends in the fire service. Today I’m talking about being your own record keeper.

Claims are denied for a variety of reasons. But the one that sticks out is “insufficient proof of exposure to carcinogens.”

But how can you prove you’ve been exposed to carcinogens? Simply saying “I’ve been a firefighter for the last 15 years” is not enough.

Fire department incident reports and company journals can be helpful, but can you remember the date and address of every incident you ever responded to? You need something more.

And that’s where a personal journal comes in. The idea here is to create a record of every call – medical calls, dumpster fires, car fires, brush fires, false alarms, chemical warehouse fires.

By keeping a log or exposure report for every incident, you create your personal record. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Any hard-bound notebook will do, or you can use one of the exposure apps available, such as the National Fire Operations Reporting System. Also consider using both a notebook and an app.

Make your entries as soon as possible after the incident. Include the date, time, incident address, and most importantly, a brief description of the work you performed.

If you face a cancer diagnosis, your journal can help you track down the official records you may need. This could be key to receiving the medical coverage and compensation benefits you deserve.

And, hey, if you include enough detail, it could even become the basis of a future bestseller!

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.