CAPP Program in Petaluma, CA

In December of 2015, we launched our CAPP program to try to get to the bottom of the question, “What's killing our Firefighters?”. The answer wasn’t fire. Today's Firefighter will most likely not die in a fire saving a life, they will die in a hospital bed from work-related cancer. 2015 revealed to us a shocking statistic that over 20 active and retired San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Firefighters were battling work-related cancers. Cancers that we believe to be preventable.

The Cancer Awareness and Prevention Program (CAPP) is a program of FirefighterAid, supported by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD), Local 145, San Diego Fireman's Relief Association and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network. CAPP was founded in 2016 with the sole purpose to reinforce best practices of Firefighters in the workplace specializing in Clean Air, Clean Body, and Clean Gear. The program includes a mandatory cancer training class and video that all SDFD personnel must attend and watch, warning identifiers, behavioral and cultural changes to prevent cancer, and posters of peers strategically placed throughout every SDFD Fire Station and Apparatus. Most importantly, CAPP is on a mission to break down stereotypes of what it means to be a Firefighter and how to protect themselves every day from the threat of cancer.






One of CAPP's main goals is to share what we've learned and make this program available to Firefighters everywhere. Our goal for 2020 is to launch our online education platform and share the program with fire departments across the country. We will make it easy for other departments to take what we have learned and implement it in their stations. Everything from our informative posters of peers who have batteled cancer and won, to warning and identifier stickers to place throughout the stations to serve as reminders, and the most impactful piece of our program...our CAPP video. Our video took three months to produce, and shares the life-changing stories of 12 SDFD cancer survivors on their journey to protect and serve the public, but found themselves being the ones who needed assistance. These brave men and women opened up to FirefighterAid and our film producer, Jason Curtisabout their journey and things they could have done differently and what they now do differently to protect themselves. We can't wait to share this impactful video with the rest of the country. We're ready to kick occupational cancer out of every department in the nation.  


Join FirefighterAid in our fight to protect our Firefighters from the cancers that chase them while they are saving lives and helping us in our time of need. Help us save the lives of those who save ours. Below are our department memos that you can use as a template to submit to a department to get the CAPP program into your department!  


Vehicle Exhaust Extractors Memo
Sticker Helmet Memo
Front-Loading Wash Machine Memo
Graphics Arts Memo
Graphic Arts Placement Memo
SCBA Use Recommendation Memo
Decon Bulletin
Cancer Action Plan Document

In June of 2018, we partnered with National University to record a live filming of our CAPP Program curriculum. In front of a class of 70, our CAPP Program Manager delivered the content for them to see how simple it really is for any department to combat job-related cancers with tools that they currently have in their stations. After the presentation, we offered a panel session with some of the best minds in cancer prevention. Brian Freiders, President of Firefighter Cancer Support Network, Robert Bunsold, then President of FirefighterAid, Steve Rohrer, DO San Diego Firefighters Wellness Center, Jonathon Wilby, Industrial Hygenist and Rick Manager for Orange County Fire Authority. All of the footage is now in the process of being compiled, edited, and packaged up to be distributed to any fire station across the nation that would like it. Stay tuned for more exciting work from our CAPP Program in 2020. 


Our CAPP Program would not be successful without the assistance of all our partnerships and those who have been dedicated to the program since it's inception. We are always looking for new partners and funding opportunities to deliver this program for free to every department in the nation. 



"When I look at the number of Comrads that have signed up to assist me in this phase of my journey, the word "WOW!!" hardly describes my feelings of gratefulness and amazement. During this past holiday season, I imagine my time spent waiting for the radiation phase to being like that of racing in the Tour de France, such that I've been riding amongst a huge peloton of friends in the flats, anticipating the final hill in this race. Now almost half way through the radiation phase and two thoughts harbor in my mind: Maintain my faith in that The Lord would not have brought me this far to call me home, so tapping out is not an option! And, occassionally a classic song comes to mind; "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends." Mad THANKS! to you all once again. See you all soon. As always my friends, be safe out there."

-J. Bowens


If you'd like to read more about Firefighter RC Ortanez and Kyle O'Neill's battles with cancer and how we've been able help them, check out OUR STORIES page.