Healthy Heroes

Clark Schaefer Hackett is raising $80,000 to purchase decontamination units for Ohio and Northern Kentucky fire stations. Our goal is to help firefighters and first responders remove toxins after fighting fires, which will help them stay healthy. It’s one way we’re bettering the lives of our communities.

Help Those Who Protect Us!


For firefighters, danger comes with the job. In addition to the risks from the fire itself, they regularly face hazards such as falling debris, collapsing structures and smoke inhalation/ exposure.

Many of the materials in our homes, schools, cars and places of work are synthetic and plastic. When burned, these materials release toxic chemicals and carcino­gens that can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. These contaminants linger in the air and collect on fire­fighters’ gear even after the fire has been extinguished.

While soot-covered faces and dirty gear were once seen as a badge of courage, research is now showing that those iconic symbols of firefighting are resulting in cancer for a growing per­centage of men and women in this field.

The toxins in the smoke and soot that remains on fire­fighters’ skin after a fire can be absorbed into their bodies. And as body temperature rises, so does the absorption rate. Airborne toxins can also attach to sweat that sticks to the skin. The longer the toxins remain in contact with firefighters’ skin, the higher the likelihood that they will be absorbed and travel through­out the body.


Risk Reduction

Masks and other protective gear help, but smoke and soot will still permeate gaps in the gear, so removing these contaminants from any exposed areas of skin as soon as possible after the fire is essential.

Wiping down with cleaning cloths or taking showers can help remove surface grime. But what about the toxins that have already been absorbed while battling the fire? The body’s natural detoxification process – sweat – can help to purge the carcinogens. Studies out of the University of Alberta in 2011 showed that nine toxic metals, including lead, aluminum, and cadmium are removed 10 times more efficiently via sweat than other natural ways.

Toxin-Free Medical Grade Infrared Saunas

To help firefighters expel these toxins faster, fire stations in the U.S. and Canada have started to incorporate sauna decontamination units in their post-fire routines. Many are using “cycle saunas” that incorporate exercise and heat to promote faster, more efficient sweating to get the toxins out of the body as quickly as possible.

Canada’s SaunaRay company has designed toxin-free medical grade infrared saunas specifically for this purpose. Firefighters can ride a spin-bike inside the warm infrared environment and sweat quickly and profusely without raising their core body temperature.

These decontamination units are effective, but at approximately $10,000 for some units, these are often too expensive for fire stations to fit into their budgets. That’s where our fundraising program comes in. CSH wants to make this treatment avail­able to firefighters in our communities.

Ready to lend a helping hand?

Make a Difference for our First Responders

Donations can be made by writing a check to:

Solon Rotary Foundation
c/o Clark Schaefer Hackett
One East Fourth Street, Suite 1200
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Or CALL Tonya Grinner at Clark Schaefer Hackett at 937-222-1959 to make a credit card payment by phone.