(OCALA, Fla.) Oct. 19, 2018 – Ocala Fire Rescue (OFR) received 14 cancer exposure decontamination kits from the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Thursday, Oct. 18.
The decontamination kits are 14 of 4,216 units obtained through a $1million grant to the Firefighter Cancer Mitigation Grant Program, awarded to 405 fire departments across the state of Florida. Each kit includes tools essential for soot and particulate removal from bunker gear before firefighters leave the scene of a fire. Kits are comprised of: a five-gallon bucket, clear bags, duct tape, dish soap, scrub brush, spray bottle, wipes, two 50-foot hose lines with nozzles, adapters and collapsible traffic cones.
According to research by the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), firefighters in the United States have a nine percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population. The purpose of the decontamination kits is to reduce firefighter’s exposure to cancer-causing agents which result from combustions at a fire scene.
“From vehicle exhaust extraction systems to annual gear decontamination, implementation of a weekly hood washing schedule and quarterly training on cancer prevention behaviors, OFR is invested in protecting the health of our firefighters,” said OFR Fire Chief Shane Alexander. “These decontamination kits are the perfect addition to [the department’s] cancer prevention initiatives in place.”