Hoods for Heroes asks Nassau County community for donations for equipment

HOODS FOR HEROES: Protecting firefighters from harmful chemicals

Hoods for Heroes is actively pursuing the purchase of protective hoods for members of Nassau County Fire and Rescue.

They are asking community members for donations to help with the costs of the life-saving hoods.

The hood would reportedly help reduce the risk of a firefighter getting cancer.

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“The dynamic of the thin skin, this being the gateway to your bloodstream, it just made sense let’s protect the most vulnerable part of your body which is your face and your neck area,” Bill Hamilton said.

Hamilton and Jeff Rountree are the co-founders of the non-profit organization Hoods for Heroes.

With 10 years of experience as an EMT/Paramedic, their goal is to protect firefighters and reduce their exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in the neck and face area.

They work with three distributors to provide hoods that block particulates from the skin. The new hood has three layers, but the biggest difference lies in the middle with the blocking barrier.

“When it gets wet, it (hood) sticks to your skin,” Rountree said. “When they’re off fighting a fire and the ash and sut and the off-gas that are coming off it sticks to this, seeps right through as they’re getting wet and goes right into their skin.”

Hoods for Heroes has provided more than 500 firefighters with hoods in Northeast Florida over the past year. Now they are asking the community to raise funds to buy more for Nassau County Fire Rescue.

“The best way we thought to help was to get them the equipment which will reduce the exposure at least until they can either find the money in the budget or the state realizes this is real danger associate with firefighters so we’re going to help these guys with some benefits,” Hamilton said.

“Firefighters getting diagnosed with cancer is an all too common occurrence. Anything we can do to help prevent even one firefighter from being diagnosed with cancer, will be more than worth our efforts. We hope to work closely with the Hoods for Heroes team in the near future and get our firefighters outfitted with these newer style hoods to reduce and hopefully prevent our firefighters from having to face that battle,” Fire Chief Brady Rigdon of Nassau County Fire Rescue said.

To donate, click here, and be sure to specify Nassau County Fire Rescue.