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New initiative works to keep firefighters safe and cancer free

Updated: May. 31, 2019 at 6:26 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - You may notice Albany firefighters will be dressed a little differently when they arrive to a fire.

It’s part of the new Clean Cab initiative that was created to help save their lives.

The men and women who rush into burning buildings to save us from fires are now dying from cancer at an alarming rate.

Toxic gases seep through their gear and equipment into their skin.

The Albany Fire Department launched a new initiative to try and save the lives of their first responders.

“Cancer is running rapid in the fire service,” said Deputy Fire Chief Sebon Burns.

Albany Fire Department Deputy Chief, Sebon Burns. (Source: WALB)
Albany Fire Department Deputy Chief, Sebon Burns. (Source: WALB)

Those who dedicate their life to protect the public and serve us are now dying from cancer at a 14 percent increased rate than the general public, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“Most of it was caused because of the toxic gasses that’s in a structure,” said Burns.

Burns said that when anything inside a home or building burns, gases are released. Gases that stay on the first responder’s gear, seeping into their skin.

“The toxic gases are a detriment to be breathed in. When they get on your skin, they’re just as deadly,” Burns explained.

Firefighters face a nine percent increase in cancer diagnoses. A staggering statistic AFD is making strides to reduce.

“We’ll never have cancer causing gear on our trucks,” said Burns.

Clean Cab is a new initiative fire departments across the nation are turning to. Firefighters will no longer put their gear on at the station. They’ll suit up as soon as they arrive to the scene of a fire and take it off as soon as they’re done working that same fire.

Gear the firefighters wear. (Source: WALB)
Gear the firefighters wear. (Source: WALB)

Then the equipment is stored in a separate part of the truck. Keeping cancer causing agents away from the men and women already risking so much.

“It’s going to help save a lot of lives," Burns said.

Burns wants to remind everyone that if you see any firefighters in plain clothes at the scene of a fire, don’t worry. They will now be putting their gear on when they arrive.

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