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Firefighters Deploy 'First In, First Out' Method To Avoid Cancer Risks

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - It's always a dangerous feat. Firefighters risk their lives daily to save the lives of others. But when it comes to this job, the dangers go far beyond the flames.

"Firefighters have been dying for years because of the products of cancer and smoke," said Brett Steppig, Battalion Chief for the Sacramento Fire Department.

Fire departments have been looking for a solution to the problem in recent years. One of those being the 'First In, First Out' method. That means multiple crews respond to a scene, and relieve the first crews that arrived so those firefighters may try and avoid any long-term health problems. 'Shower in an hour' is the motto. he procedure was deployed department-wide in the last month.

"They can get cleaned up and get the smoke and products that cause cancers off of them," said Steppig.

Firefighters' uniforms are also cleaned in special washing machines that remove cancer-causing toxins.

Occupational cancer has proved deadly for this department in the past. Just last November, the department said goodbye to their own Tamara Thacher. Her death was attributed to cancer she developed from the job.

Her death was one of many in this field and why solutions like the 'First In. First Out' method exist.

"We can all go home and be healthier with our families," said Steppig.

The same goal they keep in mind when they brave the heat with every call.

Sacramento Fire told CBS13 one battalion started utilizing the method back in June. Though it's only been about a month since the method spread to other crews in the department.

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