Escambia Firefighters Receive Decontamination Kits To Fight Cancer Risk

June 18, 2019

Escambia County Fire Rescue has received 42 post fire on-scene decontamination kits to help mitigate firefighters’ exposure to cancer-causing products of combustion. The decontamination kits will be distributed to county fire departments to be housed on apparatus with pumping capability beginning today.

The kits were provided as part of a $1 million statewide firefighter cancer mitigation grant program.

New construction and furniture often contain synthetic materials like polyurethane and hydrocarbons. The result is not only material that ignites faster, but produces carcinogens, which can increase existing cancer risks posed by a fire’s gases. A 2016 study by the National Institute for Occupation Health and Safety said U.S. firefighters are at a higher risk for cancer and they are 14% more likely to die of cancer than the general public.

Each kit includes the tools needed for firefighters to effectively clean gear after a fire:

  • Flash drive, including educational videos and training outline
  • Laminated field operation guide
  • Standard operating guideline
  • 5-gallon bucket and leak-proof lid
  • 5-gallon 6 mil clear bags
  • Duct tape
  • Dish soap
  • Short handle scrub brush
  • All-purpose spray bottle
  • Dermal wipes
  • 2- 50-foot 5/8” hose lines
  • 2- garden hose nozzles
  • 2- adapters, 2 feet 5 inches female X 3/4 inch male garden hose thread
  • Collapsible traffic cone

The kits are in addition to a department initiative to issue all certified firefighters two sets of personal protective gear, which further reduces firefighter exposure. A set of clean, dry gear would be available for use at the station while the first set can be initially cleaned on scene with the donated kit. The overall goal is to reduce expose time, not only while on scene, but when returning to the station and responding to other calls.

The state of Florida partnered with Ten-8, the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Florida Firefighters Safety and Health Collaborative, and the Firefighter Cancer Support Network to provide more than 4,200 kits to 405 Florida fire departments as part of the state effort.

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