PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - On Tuesday, the Panama City Fire Department received 15 decontamination kits from Florida State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis.
The kits will help reduce firefighters' exposure to harmful cancer-causing pollutants while doing their job. The post-fire on-scene decontamination kits contain items like dish soap and disinfectant wipes for firefighters to use to clean debris from their uniform after a blaze. Patronis said more than 4,000 of these kits have been given to fire departments throughout the state.
"Their gear keeps them safe from the outside elements of the fire but when they get to taking the gear off those elements are still there," said Patronis. "So you're trying to eliminate the possibility of those contaminants getting into their lungs getting on their skin."
According to Patronis, 70% of firefighter deaths are due to cancer. The Panama City fire chief said at least 9 local firefighters have been diagnosed with cancer during the department's history.