VIDEO: Mobile's Fire Chief, Mark Sealy, reveals that he was diagnosed with cancer several months ago. The diagnosis of kidney cancer came last summer when he was attending a fire chief's conference in Texas. A company called Lifescan Wellness Centers was conducting full body ultrasounds on first responders at the meeting. He reluctantly signed up to have one, and it showed a mass on his kidney. He came back to Mobile and was diagnosed with early-stage kidney cancer.
Doctors removed his cancer during a surgery, and since it was caught early, he did not have to have any chemo or radiation. Chief Sealy considers himself lucky. He has started researching the prevalence of cancer in firefighters, and it's higher than in the general population. It all has to do with the carcinogens in the air when items in homes and buildings catch fire.
Sealy says having dirty gear was a badge of honor when he was riding a fire truck daily. He admits that dirty gear meant that a firefighter was seasoned, and not just sitting on the sidelines, but now he wants to change the culture.
Chief Sealy has instituted a new policy for firefighters that requires them to clean all their gear before they even leave the scene of a fire. They have to hose off, brush off, and wipe off soot. Then, each firefighter has to take a shower before heading home.