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

Civita has been with Hollywood Fire Rescue for 29 years.

A driver engineer for the Hollywood Fire Rescue and Beach Safety Department, Civita spearheaded an effort to bring in a cancer test to the department.

His research found that firefighters suffered cancer at a significantly higher rate than the general population. The bunker gear that firefighters wear when fighting a fire protects them from intense heat but it does not from the carcinogens released from items that burn during fires. Many items found in homes and commercial buildings are made of artificial materials that release cancer causing toxic chemicals when they burn.

Over time, because firefighters are exposed to these chemicals, they are at a greater risk of developing cancer, according to Civita. He led the effort to bring LifeScan to the department and firefighters can receive tests to determine if 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,” said Civita. “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.”

He was also recognized for his efforts at mentoring new firefighters and helping them develop successful careers with the department.