Colo. firefighters to begin decontaminating after all fires

South Metro Fire Rescue firefighters will now treat every fire as a hazmat incident by going through extra steps to decontaminate

By FireRescue1 Staff

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — A fire department is working to reduce their risk of cancer by treating every fire as a hazmat incident.

KDVR reported that South Metro Fire Rescue will soon undergo a decontamination process after every fire to get rid of toxins they once saw as a badge of honor.

“We’ve learned that these contaminants from fires, these new building materials that they’re using in couches and curtains and floors are super toxic to us and they soak in even from the skin,” Littleton Fire Rescue training Capt. Justin Sinnett said. “We have a lot of guys that have died or have survived cancer and it’s close to the heart for a lot of us.”

The department will use brushes to get rid of debris before taking off their gear and placing them in sealed bags so they can be professionally cleaned.

The firefighters will then use special wipes to remove soot from their faces, necks, hands and ears. Lathering up with baby shampoo will also be encouraged in an effort to not bring any of the toxins back to the station.

“We know that this is a risk of our job and we’re ... more likely to get cancer, but why can’t we start fighting back?” another training officer said.

The process means firefighters will be on scene for an extra hour, but they said it’s worth the extra time.

“These types of chances, in my opinion, are extremely important because it lets us retire at a younger age and live a more fulfilled life,” a hazmat trainer said.


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