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HOUSTON – In an effort to provide increased protection and improve health and safety conditions for Houston firefighters, Fire Chief Sam Pena pushed for funds to purchase additional protective sock style hoods.

Recently, Mayor Sylvester Turner approved $560,000 to purchase 4,000 additional protective firefighting hoods for the Houston Fire Department.

According to National Fire Protection Association 1851 guidelines, cleaning and decontamination are important in maintaining the integrity of protective gear in reducing exposure to carcinogens. HFD members evaluate their gear after each use. As needed, to reduce risk and avoid exposure, some form of cleaning may be required before wearing the gear again.

This purchase of 4,000 hoods will provide each firefighter with an additional hood to allow cleaning after an event reducing the liklihood of wearing contaminated gear.

“I want to do what I can to assist in limiting firefighter exposure to particulates that can pass through the fabric of dirty personal protective hoods and be absorbed by the skin on the neck,” Fire Chief Sam Peña said.

“With this change, I’m considering the operation perspective and an additional protective hood allows firefighters to readily swap out the soiled piece of equipment with a clean one to help protect our firefighters from exposure to carcinogens.”

The hoods will also protect firefighters during non-fire-related rescue operations, emergency medical operations, and victim extrication.

Additionally, HFD has switched to a new protective hood which is a departure from the hood used for years. The new Nomex hood is custom made for HFD with emphasis on particulate protection against chemicals, gases, and vapors.

One last approval is needed from city council members to move forward.