The City of Albany, Ga., has unveiled two new Pierce aerial trucks with 100-foot ladders for its fire department, costing more than $2 million. The trucks have a clean cab design to protect fire staff from carcinogens, said Pete Bednar, the county's fleet director.
The vehicles are part of the new Clean Cab initiative that was created to help save their lives. Firefighters who rush into burning buildings are dying from cancer at an alarming rate because toxic gases seep through their gear and equipment into their skin.
“Cancer is running rapid in the fire service,” said Deputy Fire Chief Sebon Burns. Firefighters are now dying from cancer at a 14% increased rate than the public, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Burns said that when anything inside a home or building burns, toxic gases are released, and they stay on the first responders’ gear, seeping into their skin.
Clean Cab is a new initiative that fire departments across the nation are turning to. Firefighters will no longer put their gear on at the station. Instead, they’ll suit up as soon as they arrive to the scene of a fire and take it off as soon as they’re done working that same fire. The equipment is stored in a separate part of the truck, keeping cancer-causing agents away from firefighters.
Bednar explained that the new cabs don't have cut-out space for oxygen bottles in the seats. Air bottles and turn out gear will also be stored in a separate compartment rather than in the cab.