Georgia Firefighters Have New Device To Reduce Cancer Risk

Firefighters in Georgia’s Cobb County have a new device that will help keep them safe. The device, called StormStick, could help them for the rest of their lives. 

As reported by Fox 5 Atlanta, when firefighters respond to calls, they’re not just battling the smoke and flames.

“The amount of carcinogens that are in smoke – whether it be a residential or commercial fire – the numbers are through the roof now as opposed to what they were 30, 40 or 50 years ago before everything was made of plastic. Now, couches, carpet, furniture that’s all pressboard, all of that is made out of plastics and when plastics burn it releases hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and a host of other chemicals we don’t necessarily see,” explained Cobb County Fire Capt. Ben Holley.

The carcinogens are reportedly enough to cause long term health problems. 

“We’re seeing a large increase in the number of firefighters being diagnosed with cancer, and the majority of those cancers turn out to be occupational,” said Holley.

The StormStick is a new device that will help Cobb County firefighters decontaminate their equipment after a fire. The device is easy to mount, and the detergent is loaded and ready to use.

“It gets most of the contaminates that their gear has absorbed from the incident off of their gear pretty quickly,” said Holley.

“There’s carcinogens and other chemicals that come out of every single fire that they need to decontaminate from,” explained Lance LoRusso with the Cobb County Public Safety Foundation.

The Cobb County Public Safety Foundation helped pay for the StormStick. The device cost $2500, and they’re now raising money to get five more of them.

“One for every battalion, and we need one for a back-up,” LoRusso said. “Decontamination is so important. Even when they’re training in the fire simulators, they really need to decontaminate.”

“It’s consistent, easy and effective. That’s a win-win for us,” said Holley.

D & B Staff

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