Alameda County firefighters were treated to a free shave as part of a fundraising event with a deadly-serious purpose.
In the 1800s, firefighters actually believed having a thick mustache made their job safer. “Firefighters back in the day would have mustaches that would help them to absorb some of the smoke when they went into the fires,” explained Brian Centoni, with the Alameda County Fire Dept. “Did that actually work? I don’t know if it worked, I’d have to ask my grandfather,” he added.
To be clear, it didn’t work. These days, firefighters have modern breathing devices to protect themselves from the smoke. But even with that, smoke inhalation is still considered the most dangerous part of the job.
“We have a 250 percent more likelihood of contracting cancer due to our line of work than someone who doesn’t work in our line of work. So this is something that’s very important to us,” said Josh Leinas with the Alameda County Firefighters Union, local 55.