Hoods For Heroes Donates Life-Saving Equipment To Clay County Firefighters
Hoods For Heroes delivered the first set of protective hoods to Clay County Firefighters recently, as part of its efforts to provide potentially life saving equipment that reduces exposure to deadly chemicals. Working with the Cancer Specialist of North Florida, Hoods For Heroes will provide more than 550 protective hoods to firefighters in three Northeast Florida counties.
The hoods protect firefighters’ heads and necks – parts of the body where the skin is thinnest and most vulnerable to absorbing cancerous particles emitted during a fire. In fact, many common household objects give off deadly particles while burning that can cause cancer. The hoods used by most firefighters today are often called “cancer sponges” because they are made of thin material that absorbs the particulate matter. The new hoods, which have only recently been available, have layers of a complex barrier material that filters out and protects firefighters from toxic particles.
Firefighters across the US are at 6 to 8 times higher risk for cancers than the general population. In 2016 alone, cancer caused 70% of line-of-duty deaths for career firefighters and is now the leading cause of death, according to the International Association of Firefighters. The hoods reduce the risk of exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and soot by over 99%.
“The mission of Hoods For Heroes is to raise awareness and support for this unknown epidemic,” said Co-Founder Bill Hamilton. “Our mission in the next year is to raise enough support to outfit every firefighter in the state. After that, we attack the country!” Along with Jeff Rountree, Hamilton created Hoods For Heroes to raise funds that are used to purchase these hoods, then donate them to firefighters.
The non-profit organization works together with Cancer Specialists of North Florida, a Jacksonville-based oncology practice with expertise in treating and reducing cancer. Cancer Specialists provided the seed funding for Hoods For Heroes, which enabled the purchase of hoods to more than 550 firefighters at more than 30 fire stations in Clay County, St. Johns County, and the Town of Orange Park. In addition to providing funding for the hoods, Cancer Specialists also has donated cancer diagnostic services including PET scans.
“It was an honor and a privilege for Cancer Specialists of North Florida to become involved in Hoods for Heroes,” said Dr. Emily Tanzler. “As a physician-run practice focused on serving North Florida, it’s important to us to give back to our community. We are in the trenches dealing with cancer daily and if we can prevent even one firefighter from dealing with this disease it would mean the world to us. It’s our hope that all firefighters, as well as their families, can be confident that when they send their families out into the community to protect us that they are well protected.”
“We are proud and excited to contribute to the safety of our community heroes,” said Jeff Rountree. “Since fire stations have limited budgets, many firefighters only have a single hood they have been using for years. Our goal is to provide new hoods to every firefighter in the United States. We are receiving requests for hoods from across the country,” he said. “But we need to raise additional funds to meet those needs. For every $125 donated, we can deliver one hood to a firefighter. With $12,500 we can outfit 100 firefighters with potentially life saving equipment.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit HoodsForHeroes.org. Hoods For Heroes is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization as certified by the IRS.