GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith is pleased to announce that the Gloucester Fire Department has been awarded a more than $6,400 grant by the Baker-Polito Administration to purchase a gear cleaning machine to reduce firefighter exposure to hazardous chemicals.
The Baker-Polito Administration announced $920,000 in grant awards on Tuesday, Dec. 10, to 174 fire departments throughout the Commonwealth for the purchase of turnout gear and washer-extractors. The grants aim to reduce firefighter exposure to toxic, cancer causing chemicals found in substances including smoke and ash.
“It is critical that we have a machine we can trust to thoroughly clean our gear from toxic, potentially deadly chemicals that we’re exposed to in the fire service,” Chief Smith said. “We are incredibly thankful that the Baker-Polito administration recognized our need for a new machine, and to Sen. Bruce Tarr, who was a major force behind this grant program and always advocates on behalf of public safety to ensure we can deliver the best service to citizens and visitors.”
A national standard set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on the care and cleaning of structural firefighting gear delineates specific types of machines that should be used to effectively remove cancer-causing chemicals after each fire. All washer-extractors purchased with this grant will meet this standard, and enable personnel to wear clean gear each time they leave the fire station for an emergency.
The new machine will replace an old commercial washing machine far past its life expectancy, and the Gloucester Fire Department aims to order and install the new washer within the coming months, pending the City’s acceptance of the grant.