DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Every firefighter in Dallas will soon get a new uniform, a nearly $9 million expense aimed at cutting heightened cancer rates.
Currently each Dallas Fire-Rescue firefighter has one set of “bunker gear” which includes a jacket, pants, hood, and gloves. Dallas City Council Wednesday voted to approve a contract that would give them each a second set.
Dallas Fire Fighters Association President Jim McDade has spent years fighting for the additional funds to make this possible.
“It’s added into the budget every year and then it’s cut out of the budget,” said McDade.
This year was different.
“It’s our job to keep you safe because that’s what y’all do for us every day,” said council member Adam Bazaldua moments before he and his colleagues approved the contract.
Every time a firefighter confronts a burning building, there’s soot and smoke.
“And, that contains carcinogens. And, those get on your skin and absorb through your skin.”
It gets absorbed into their clothes, too, which they continue to wear through their shift and maybe even the next one.
“And those exposures are what cause cancer in our firefighters,” said McDade. “We have about 20 firefighters right now who are actively working who’ve been diagnosed with cancer.”
The seemingly simple change, offering them a second set of gear to easily switch into, is expected to keep them cleaner and healthier.