GREENSBORO, N.C. — Every 24 seconds, firefighters are responding to a fire somewhere in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Even though the number of fires and fire deaths have decreased significantly since the 1970's, some statistics are more troubling.

 Did you know, cancer is the leading cause of death among firefighters?

Researchers found firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths compared to the general population in the U.S. 

And, according to The International Association of Fire Fighters, 54.8 percent of the names on the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Wall of Honor have died from cancer since 2002.  

You already know firefighting is a dangerous profession that involves battling flames and responding to a number of life-threatening rescues.  

The toxic environments in which fire service members live and work have long been suspected to have an adverse effect on fire fighter health, and studies have backed that up.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently undertook two large studies focused on cancer risk in firefighters.

Researchers found firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths compared to the general population in the U.S. 

And, according to The International Association of Fire Fighters, 54.8 percent of the names on the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Wall of Honor have died from cancer since 2002.  

Fire fighters' skin is routinely contaminated with soot and toxins. 

According to IAFF, dermal absorption, besides inhalation, is a potential route of exposure of known fire ground carcinogens. 

Additionally, these carcinogens and hazardous particulates remain on PPE if not cleaned properly and consistently.

The Professional Fire Fighters of Greensboro and the Greensboro Fire Department are working together to ensure the safety and protection of all fire crews. 

It's all about limiting exposures to cancer causing elements.

A shower will be placed on all engine companies throughout the city of Greensboro. 

The shower will allow firefighters to perform a gross decon of all contaminated equipment while still on scene.

Fire officials say "the shower was the brainchild of the cancer committee and will make decontaminating equipment and gear much easier for individuals." 

To learn more about how to fire officials across the U.S. are working to reduce cancer risks in firefighters, click here