TRUSSVILLE, AL (WBRC) - Northport Fire Rescue follows new rules when it comes to protecting firefighters after they put a fire out.
"It's a culture change, for sure. Whereas years ago, a sooty black helmet was a badge of honor, whereas today that's not the case," Captain Jason Norris told WBRC.
Norris, also the Public Information Officer for Northport Fire Rescue, explained newer structures made from synthetic materials are more likely to expose them to carcinogens after a fire than some older buildings made from organic materials.
"The CDC and the National Fire Protection Association have all done studies linking firefighters to cancer," Norris went on to say.
So they're careful on the clock and clean up carefully afterward.
The same outfits they put on for safety when fighting fires are immediately washed after they return to the fire station.
"We clean our faces and necks with wet wipes and as soon as we get back to the station we try to take showers as soon as possible," he added.
Another step firefighters have taken includes washing some vehicles like their ladder truck to make sure they're clear and free smoke and soot that could also carry carcinogens with them.
"So we need to not only take care of ourselves but take care of our loved ones as well and we can do that by protecting ourselves while we're here," Norris concluded.