JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis on Monday delivered the first set of cancer-fighting decontamination kits to Jacksonville firefighters.
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department received 70 of 4,000 decontamination kits that will be going to firehouses across Florida.
"Thank you all for being here, but more importantly, thank you for the sacrifice of the brave men and women who keep our communities safe," Patronis said.
Each of the kits has tools for firefighters to effectively clean their gear after a fire, something that could save a lot of firefighters from a battle with cancer.
"In 2016 alone, cancer caused 70 percent of career firefighter line of duty deaths across the nation," Patronis said. "Cancer prevalence in firefighters is not up for debate, and we must make sure these heroes have the tools needed to stay healthy and safe."
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was among leaders who joined Patronis at the event at Fire Station 1.
”We have included in our budget in recent years these efforts to make sure these folks are getting what they need for cancer prevention," Curry said. "But with the state stepping up again, (we're) just grateful and grateful for everybody in this room -- the men and women that do the job and their advocates."
The post-fire on-scene kits were awarded through a $1 million grant to the firefighter cancer mitigation grant program. Patronis said they’re critical to protecting the heroes at every firehouse.
"We partnered up with the University of Miami and the Sylvester Cancer Institute. And you see these green buckets we've got -- all these components that come together are to essentially clean the system," Patronis said. "Little by little, step by step, we're going to make a difference."
The state is in the process of giving the kits out to each fire apparatus with pumping capability at the departments that applied for the program.