Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy
Patronis delivered firefighter cancer-fighting decontamination kits to Panama
City Fire Department on October 2nd. The Post Fire On-Scene Decontamination
Kits were created in partnership with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and will help mitigate
firefighters’ exposure to cancer-causing products of combustion.
“Fire Chief Alex
Baird shared with us several months ago at the Goals Session that the risk of
cancer for firefighters was about 15% higher than other jobs. That hit home for
me,” said Mayor Greg Brudnicki.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “It was a privilege to stand in my hometown today with the brave men and women of the Panama City firefighting community to present these cancer-fighting decontamination kits. Cancer rates in our firefighters are alarming and we can’t stand by another year and let our first responders shoulder the financial burden for cancer treatment. Cancer caused 70 percent of career firefighter line of duty deaths across the nation. We must make sure these heroes have the tools needed to stay healthy and safe.”
Four thousand decontamination kits will be distributed between the
Northwest, North Central, Northeast, Southwest and South regions of Florida.
More than 1,000 kits have already been distributed with the remainder of the
kits to be delivered in the coming weeks. Each kit includes the tools needed
for firefighters to effectively decontaminate firefighting gear while on-scene
after a fire.
The decontamination kits were awarded through a $1 million grant to the firefighter cancer mitigation grant program. So far 4,216 decontamination kits have been awarded to 405 fire departments, and will be available for each fire apparatus with pumping capability in the department. Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has developed a website, which
contains related educational materials, along with other resources designed to
help educate firefighters about cancer risks and processes that might help
reduce those risks.