We use a qualitative method to gain further insight into women firefighters’ experiences, perceptions of cancer, health, and safety risks in the fire service.
We conducted six focus groups with U.S. women firefighters. Participants engaged in a 60 to 75-minute, semi-structured discussion and completed a sociodemographic questionnaire. A qualitative descriptive approach was used to inductively create themes. Data collection concluded when saturation was met.
Forty-nine women firefighters participated. Qualitative results indicated the main health concerns include: occupational cancer risks including, risks related to hazardous exposures, sleep disruption and stress; and women's health concerns including, cancer, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and lack of resources.
Women firefighters are concerned about their risk for cancer due to their occupation and identify a lack of resources specific to health and safety needs of women firefighters.