CENTER POINT, Ala. (WIAT) — When our firefighters are rushing into burning buildings, the dangers they face go far beyond the flames. According to the University of Cincinnati environmental health research, firefighters are significantly more likely to develop four different types of cancer than workers in other fields.
In the Birmingham-metro area, fire stations are investing in better gear to protect themselves from carcinogens. At Center Point Fire, two firefighters have cancer. The chief, Gene Coleman said he has been making changes to procedure to keep his crews healthy. “When the firefighters come out, they immediately start a decon process or a decontamination process. Where we get water, scrub them down. Get wipes, and remove the toxins away from them as quickly as possible,” said Chief Coleman.
Center Point Fire is also testing out new hoods. The thicker options do a better job of filtering out cancer-causing chemicals. Chief Coleman said they’ll be ordering new hoods in the next few months.