St. Louis Fire Chief initiates changes after losing 4 firefighters to cancer

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After losing four firefighters to cancer in the past year, St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said the department is starting to take a closer look at the link.

Numerous research has shown that firefighters have a higher risk for some cancer and cancer-related deaths because of the carcinogens they face when fighting flames.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, one of the biggest changes the department will see is the need to decontaminate the gear and trucks after a fire. After putting out a fire, firefighters will be required to wipe their hands, face and neck to wash off the particles that can cause cancer.

In a video posted to Twitter, Chief Jenkerson said the biggest part will be finding funding to help pay for equipment needed to give firefighters a “step up on the cancer issue.” One piece of equipment needed is an extra set of turnout clothes, which costs about $1,500 each.