Firefighters Wear Pink to Support Breast Cancer Awareness

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:(left to right) Newport Beach Fire Department paramedic J.C. Nessa, engineer Alan Baker and fire investigator Capt. Mike Liberto adjust equipment on the back of the fire engine and pose for a photo while wearing their pink Breast Cancer Awareness shirts.   — Photos by Sara Hall
(left to right) Newport Beach Fire Department paramedic J.C. Nessa, engineer Alan Baker and fire investigator Capt. Mike Liberto adjust equipment on the back of the fire engine and pose for a photo while wearing their pink Breast Cancer Awareness shirts.
— Photos by Sara Hall

The fire department is kicking off their campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this week by including a little pink in their uniforms.

Newport Beach Fire Department personnel will be wearing pink t-shirts under their uniforms through October in an effort to increase awareness about the disease.

“It’s nice for us to be able to help out and gain a little bit of recognition for all of the work that the cancer foundation does for such a (worthy) cause,” said NBFD fire investigator, Capt. Mike Liberto . “Any way we can help get the word out… we’re happy to do it.”

Interest in the shirts also open up opportunities to talk and engage with the public, Liberto said.

(left to right) NBFD paramedic J.C. Nessa, engineer Alan Baker and fire investigator Capt. Mike Liberto from NBFD station eight, along with the rest of the department, will wear their pink Breast Cancer Awareness shirts underneath their uniforms during the month of October.
(left to right) NBFD paramedic J.C. Nessa, engineer Alan Baker and fire investigator Capt. Mike Liberto from NBFD station eight, along with the rest of the department, will wear their pink Breast Cancer Awareness shirts underneath their uniforms during the month of October.

“It really breaks the ice,” he said, and “opens up the conversation.”

There are a lot of ways to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation, he said.

“(The pink t-shirts) are a good way for us to do it because when the fire department is out there and the fire engine is driving around the city, we’re very visible,” he said, and the pink “is very noticeable, it’s very striking.”

“To be able to use what we have, as a fire department,” he added, and “support another charity, is fantastic.”

The shirts “boast a bright pink color to commemorate our commitment to the education and early detection of this disease,” Liberto explained in a press release. “At first glance, the bright colors may appear to offset our professional uniform’s image, but it serves as an excellent reminder of the importance of breast cancer education.”

A fire hose that has been shaped and colored to form a pink ribbon is displayed on the back of the shirts, along with the words “We support the fight against breast cancer.”

This the first year the department has had the shirts, but they have been longtime supporters of the cause, including participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

“Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die,” according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime… Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.”

Those facts are “pretty staggering,” Liberto said.

NBFD fire investigator Capt. Mike Liberto (left) and paramedic J.C. Nessa prepare a meal while wearing their pink shirts in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
NBFD fire investigator Capt. Mike Liberto (left) and paramedic J.C. Nessa prepare a meal while wearing their pink shirts in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The NBFD encourages others to wear pink and support awareness for breast cancer.

Newport Beach Fire Capt. Chris Fanti helped organize everything and NBFD worked in cooperation with the Costa Mesa Fire Department, whose personnel have worn the supportive shirts for several years.

It’s likely the department will participate again, Liberto said, so the shirts will probably be saved for next year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“It’s been really well received,” Liberto said. “They’re a hit so far.”

They have also had a lot of interest from the public about where to get the shirts, Liberto said, which will be available at the department’s annual Open House on Sunday.

The community is invited out to learn more about fire prevention at the event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at station seven at 20401 SW Acacia St. in Santa Ana Heights.

It will kick off Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12.

The logo on the back of the Breast Cancer Awareness shirts
The logo on the back of the Breast Cancer Awareness shirts

“Firefighters and lifeguards will be giving live demonstrations and teaching the community more about fire prevention,” according to a NBFD press release. “Children will have the opportunity to meet some of the Newport Beach firefighters and lifeguards and see the city’s antique fire engine, as well as modern fire engines and other fire and lifeguard apparatus.”

Guests will also get a chance to tour the fire station. Free hot dogs and beverages will also be provided for lunch, served by the Newport Beach Firefighter Association.

The event is free and open to the public.

“Fire Prevention Week is a great time of the year to focus on fire safety, which is vitally important,” said NBFD Chief Scott Poster.

This year’s educational theme is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”

Research shows that cooking is one of the leading causes of household fires, according to the statement, with two out of every five house fires beginning in the kitchen.

“Often when we’re called to a fire that started in the kitchen, the residents tell us that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes,” said Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Kitch. “Sadly, that’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. We hope that this event will help us reach folks in the community and teach them how to prevent fires from starting.”

 

For more information about the breast cancer awareness t-shirt campaign, please call (949) 644-3111.

More information on breast cancer, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation at nationalbreastcancer.org.

For more information about the open house, call (949) 644-3106 or email [email protected]

For more information on fire prevention, visit the Newport Beach Fire Department website at newportbeachca.gov/lifesafety.

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