PHOTOS: The Asheville Fire Department might be the most accepting of change in the fire service, given what firefighters have been through over the last several years. The department has made significant changes in a short period of time, specifically when it comes to effort to better protect a firefighter from a risk many weren't even talking about a decade ago.
Now they're talking about a firefighter's cancer risk and changing their protocols, including ensuring their health care provider makes firefighters aware of important cancer screenings during annual physicals and keeping a firefighter’s SCBA or self-contained breathing apparatus on longer at a fire scene. This better protects their airway and hopefully lowers their exposure to dangerous gases and chemicals, ultimately lowering their risk for cancer.
The impact of cancer on the Asheville Fire Department and their losses have been fueling change, not only in the mountains, but across the state.