Lakeland Fire Dept. is using new technology to fight cancer

By Sara Belsole, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, November 27, 2016, 7:45 PM EST

The Lakeland Fire Department is fighting cancer thanks to a new piece of equipment.

  • New protective 'halo hoods' provides extra barrier
  • Designed to filter cancer-causing particules
  • All Lakeland firefighters have begun wearing the hoods

Every member of the department now wears a new protective hood. The department transitioned from the traditional firefighting hoods to particle filtering hoods, called halo hoods, last month.

"In a fire when we are sweating our skin has a higher rate of absorption of carcinogens,” Lakeland Firefighter Kyle Davis said. “So with these new halo hoods, it’s three layers that protects our more commonly exposed areas like our ears and neck."

The new hood provides a barrier for cancer-causing materials for areas that aren’t already protected by a helmet or suit. A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that firefighters are more likely suffer from cancer than the general U.S. population.

Research shows they aren't only at a higher risk contracting cancer, but dying from cancer.

"Our job is already inherently dangerous as is," said Davis, "and then there is a lot of other diseases that we have to deal with as firefighters."

The Lakeland Fire Department is one of the first in Florida to use the new hoods.

"Our gear now-a-days is getting really good, so we are able to go into a fire longer, do our job a little bit safer and that’s our number one goal: that everyone goes home safe,” Davis said.

The new hoods cost about 30 percent more than the old ones.