VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Beach Fire Department is offering multi-cancer early detection blood tests for current and former firefighters.

The Galleri multi-cancer early detection blood testing began May 22 and will continue through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Fire Training Center, located at 927 S. Birdneck Road.

More than 450 current and retired VB firefighters have gone through Galleri Testing through Wednesday. The company brought 600 tests – which was in their contract with city of Virginia Beach, so there’s 150 left.

Thursday is the last day firefighters can be tested at the Fire Training Center on Birdneck Road. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This testing comes as VBFD works to better understand occupational cancers after the department lost Capt. Matt Chiaverotti over a month ago from anaplastic thyroid cancer.

“Chevy meant a lot to all of us and we don’t want anyone to have to go through what him and his family went through especially if we can find something earlier,” said Battalion Chief Norman Williams.

Capt. Paula Wirth has been doing this job for 21 years and knows the high risks that come along with being a firefighter.

She was one of many who responded to the jet crash in 2012. She was driving Engine 5 at the time and said her husband, who is also a firefighter getting tested, was in one of the first trucks on scene.

“For our family, it’s a big day,” Wirth said.

Active firefighters at VBFD and retired firefighters who responded to the F/A-18 mishap are eligible to get the test for free. Other retirees are also able to take the test at a discounted rate ($649).

The Galleri test will screen for more than 50 types of cancer and should be used in addition to other screening tests that healthcare providers recommend.

Medical advisors for GRAIL, the creators of the test, said it detects patterns in the blood that could signal different types of cancer.

“If you find cancer in its earliest stages you have about a 90% chance of beating it within five years,” said Dr. Whitney Jones. “Once that cancer has spread that falls to about 20 percent.”

Jones said there’s no single occupational exposure with more documented risk than firefighters because of the work they do.

Bayside Physicians Group Medical Director Anthony Cetrone said it’s important to take care of those on the front lines who are taking care of us. He said they’ve tested around 7,000 firefighters in 33 states.

“They have tremendous number of exposures, a lot of variables out there because anything can burn up in a fire,” Cetrone said.

Firefighters face incredible battles everyday, but many who were tested said this isn’t something they thought they’d have to think about when they joined.

“You come in to serve and do what you can to help people and then you’re exposed and you’re not really aware,” Wirth said. “We’re much more aware than we were 20 years ago.”

The test is available commercially for those 50 and older, but doctors said this test shouldn’t replace a normal screening.

The test is not recommended for those who are 21 years old or younger, pregnant or undergoing active cancer. To learn more about the test, go to