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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Fire chiefs in Ohio are implementing new procedures and buying new equipment to reduce cancer rates among firefighters.

The Columbus Dispatch reports fire chiefs in Columbus and Cleveland in recent months have made policy changes while discussing long-term strategies to protect firefighters from harmful chemicals and exposure to carcinogens.

The newspaper published stories in October detailing firefighters’ high risk for work-related cancers and the struggle among fire services to address the issue.

Changes in Columbus include using one unit to fight a fire and another to tear into walls searching for smoldering fires and to clean up scenes.

Departments in Columbus and Cleveland are emphasizing that firefighters exchange or decontaminate gear after fires.

Columbus Fire Chief Kevin O’Connor says he wants his firefighters to “have a long, rich life.”


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,