Firefighters are exposed to a lot of chemicals that could cause cancer, and one local department is taking steps to protect these first responders.

KWTX is reporting that the Belton Fire Department is making firemen safety a top priority.

I didn't realize that, because of the all the chemicals fire fighters are exposed to, they have a greater chance of being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and are twice as likely to be diagnosed with testicular and prostate cancer.

Firefighters are now being trained on how to reduce the chances of being exposed to dangerous chemicals after a fire. They will now also be going through a decontamination process.

Belton Fire Department Chief Bruce Pritchard said, "We wash the firefighters down, after a fire and bag their gear up and it stays sealed. We actually put those firefighters and their apparatus out of service following the fire and give them time to go back and wash things down. Take a shower and get ready for service again."

He believes his department is the first to implement this new procedure.

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