New Silvis fire engine reduces cancer risk with “clean cab technology”

New Silvis fire engine features new technology to protect firefighters from cancer.

SILVIS, Illinois -- Silvis Fire Department now has a new engine with "clean cab technology" to protect firefighters from cancer.

That means there is no material in the seats or floor that can carry carcinogens, inside the cab where firefighters ride. Most fire engines have cloth seats, that can absorb carcinogens and are tough to clean.

The cab is made of solid surface material, that can be hosed down and scrubbed.

Firefighters are also protected by now keeping their self-contained breathing apparatus outside the cab, in a separate cabinet. SCBA has cloth straps that can also trap carcinogens.

Toxic chemicals from burning plastic and other materials can put firefighters at risk for getting cancer.

"Where the problem with the carcinogens comes in is afterwards," Fire Chief John Winters says. "When were inside, we know were exposed to it, we're going to get it on our gear, on our SCBA. If we can keep it out of the places where it doesn't need to be, that's our goal."

There is one exception in the cab -- the seat belts are made of cloth but Winters says those will be properly washed.

The truck's HVAC system also has extra filters to better clean the air.

The entire project took about 12 months and cost $622,000 to complete.

A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study found firefighters had a nine percent higher chance of being diagnosed with cancer, and a 14 percent higher chance of dying from cancer.