ORANGE PARK, Fla. – More than 500 firefighters may be feeling safer on the job after getting specialized hoods designed to protect them from cancer. Hoods for Heroes in partnership with Cancer Specialists of North Florida donated 550 of the hoods to firefighters in Clay and St. Johns counties as well as firefighters in Macclenny and Orange Park.
"We now know there’s a very high risk of carcinogens exposure, and long-term cancers potentially from the firefighting risk. So, these hoods are going to be our tool in the process of protecting our firefighters," Clay County Fire Chief Lorin Mock said.
The hoods could literally become a lifesaver, according to doctors.
"One in three firefighters will have a cancer diagnosis in their life, 70 percent in line (of) duty and death from duty will be from cancer. As doctors, we really took a shock from that. It resonated with us," said Dr. Emily Tanzler with Cancer Specialists of North Florida.
That staggering fact has really hit home for the founders of the non-profit, Hoods for Heroes.
"In Clay County, unfortunately, we have a fire fighter who got diagnosed with stage four (cancer). We become very close with the family, and we just have to do whatever we can to really help these guys and reduce the exposure," said Hoods for Heroes co-founder, Bill Hamilton.
Read more about Hoods for Heroes and our News4Jax special 'Sounding the alarm', here.