Plan to add additional shower to Vernon Fire Department proposed

NOW: Plan to add additional shower to Vernon Fire Department proposed

WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Earlier this week, CBS 58 News told you how cancer caused 70% of firefighter line-of-duty deaths in 2016.

Now, that story is being used to promote change at a Waukesha County station.

Leaders have decided one single shower in the building isn't enough to keep firefighters safe from the toxins and carcinogens they're exposed to in their work.

The saying they use at the Vernon Fire Department is "shower within the hour."

"That's kind of hard to do when you only have one shower and five people to get through it," said Patrick Hays, Assistant Fire Chief with the Vernon Fire Department.

The problem was so bad that firefighters were going to the chief's home just to get clean.

"The toxins are in someone's home and that's not right," said Susan Fischer, former member of the Vernon Town Fire Board.

Fischer is a friend of the department who says she's been lobbying the Vernon Town Board to install more showers.

Then she saw the CBS 58 special report on firefighters and cancers.

"I kept getting the runaround and when I saw your article on the news...I sent it to the town of Vernon to say hey this is why we need showers," said Fischer.

The plans to add another shower have been drawn up.

It's progress that wouldn't have even been considered in the past.

"Sometimes it was the thing to do to walk around the firehouse smelling of smoke --- Now if they go into a fire, they're supposed to take that gear off and it goes right in our extractor washing machine."

Securing the money to pay for the new shower is the next step.

The plan is being presented to the Vernon Town Board on Thursday night.

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