To lower cancer risks, firefighters get decontamination kits

Being a firefighter is even more dangerous than we thought. Researchers are discovering that firefighters are more likely to get cancer because they exposed to a number of carcinogens in smoke, including formaldehyde and benzene.

The University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has come up with a way to hopefully reduce their risk.  The center just distributed 4,000 decontamination kits to fire departments across the state, including Winter Haven’s.

“When you look at how many particles it takes off you -- that you didn’t even realize were on you -- it’s amazing,” said Winter Haven Capt. Casey Dasher.

It is supposed to remove 85 percent of the soot and grime from a firefighter’s gear.

The washing procedure is simple. A fellow firefighter washes off your jacket, pants, hoods and helmet with water and dish soap. You take off the outerwear, then clean off your face, neck, and hands with baby wipes. 

When you get back to the station, you take a full shower and hopefully there’s time for your gear to be washed as well.

Although it is a simple procedure and only takes a few minutes, researchers say making it routine will decrease a firefighter’s chance of being exposed to possible problems in the future.