PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The month of January is dedicated to helping fire fighters stay safe from something other than fires.

According to the International Association of Fire Fighters from 2015 – 2020, 75% of fire fighters died from occupational cancer.

The Peoria Fire Department Assistant Chief, Shawn Sollberger said they do a cancer screening as apart of it’s annual screening. Sollberger said despite protective gear fire fighters are still exposed to carcinogens that can lead to cancer.

He said they are practicing a second-set-of-gear program in hopes to lessen those chances.

“Let’s say 8 o’clock this morning you get a house fire your gear is trash and that is just the nature of the job… then you have to go to the remainder of your whole shift with dirty cancer filled gear. We just thought during that time when I was a young fire fighter that it was just the way it was,” said Sollberger.

He said fire fighters are also encouraged to “shower within an hour” after each fire.