David Civita has been named Hollywood Firefighter of the Year and was recognized for his achievement during a recent commission meeting.

Civita, a driver engineer for the Hollywood Fire Rescue and Beach Safety Department, spearheaded an effort to bring in LifeScan, a cancer test, to the department. His research found that firefighters were diagnosed with cancer at a significantly higher rate than the general population. The bunker gear that firefighters wear when fighting a blaze protects them from intense heat, but it does not protect them from the carcinogens released from items that may burn during such situations. Many items found in homes and commercial buildings are made of artificial materials that release cancer-causing toxic chemicals when they burn. Because firefighters are exposed to these chemicals, over time they are at a greater risk of developing cancer, according to Civita. This fact fueled his efforts to bring LifeScan to the department, giving firefighters a test to determine whether they have precancerous conditions or cancer.

“We have found that a number of our firefighters had precancerous conditions and we were able to get them the treatment they needed,” Civita said. “The fire department is a family. We work together and we live together. I want to make sure the firefighters are taken care of properly. I want them to have the best healthcare possible.”

Civita has been with the Hollywood Fire Rescue for 29 years. He was also recognized for overall good work and for his efforts in mentoring new firefighters and helping them develop successful careers with the department.