The good news: technology is making firefighter protective clothing more lightweight, breathable and effective.
The bad news: it's not cheap.
Consider a recent donation of 57 protective hoods to the Cottage Grove Fire Department by the city's public safety board. In an unusual move, the board footed the entire $5,800 cost.
Fire Chief Rick Redenius, who initially requested around $1,000, isn't arguing.
"We're just very thankful that they decided to step forward and buy them without us having to worry about budgeting money for it," he said. "It's another step we're taking to help reduce the chance of cancer in firefighters."
Studies of some groups of firefighters have identified higher incidents of certain types of cancer. The cancers have been linked to the sooty poisons and toxic vapors that are produced when materials combust in a structure fire.