MOUNT DORA, Fla. - Firefighters in Mount Dora are receiving new gear that's designed to protect against contaminants that cause cancer.
In February, the City Council approved funding for the personal protection equipment. The city said the decision was based on recent studies showing firefighters are at a higher risk of developing certain cancers when compared to the general population.
"With the cancer rates so high in the fire service, we have to do something to prevent that," Deputy Chief Brian Nadler said. "This is one of the initiatives to start preventing that."
On Friday, firefighters were shown how to properly use the gear to ensure they're protected while responding to incidents.
"You are covered from the helmet all the way down. You got gloves, boots and there's not one piece of your skin or uniform exposed to the elements," Municipal Equipment spokesperson Robert Gonzalez said.
The equipment comes with an extra layer to protect against carcinogenic particulates.
"When you take your hood off, everything stays in the thyroid area," Gonzalez said. "When you wear a particulate blocking hood, you don't have any of the residue from the fires."
According to the city, the equipment is replacing current firefighting gear, which will be used as a backup.
The fire department said the new gear is currently in rotation and the city is working to acquire grant funding for other safety measures to help minimize the risk to firefighters responding to incidents.
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