New hoods aim to reduce cancer risk for firefighters

New protection for firefighters

LAKELAND, Fla. (WTSP) -- You may have enjoyed your day off this Thanksgiving, but our first responders were on the clock, making sure you stay out of harm's way.

As they're working this holiday, firefighters in Lakeland are wearing new equipment designed to keep them safe. The department recently purchased particle-filtering hoods made by the company Halo. The company says the hoods are designed to keep carcinogens out.

According to a recent study, firefighters are twice as likely to get certain cancers than the general population.

“When you have a child it definitely makes you think about those things a lot more,” firefighter Armando Silva said. “You think about your mortality.”

Even with all the heavy gear they’ve been wearing for decades, firefighters can still absorb toxic fumes into their skin.

Lakeland Fire said it's one of the first departments in the entire state to get rid of the traditional hoods, made of a thinner, lighter material, and replace them with the new ones.

“With them getting some equipment like this for us to use, it means a lot to us that they're thinking about that as well as us,” another firefighter, Steven Murphy, said.

The new hoods are about $30 more expensive than the old hoods and, the firefighters say, not as comfortable as the old ones. However, they say those are small prices to pay to stay safe.

Even though they had to work this Thanksgiving, the firefighters hope these hoods will help keep them around longer. That way, they can spend more holidays in the future with the ones they love.


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