ANDOVER — Chief Michael Mansfield reports that Andover Fire Rescue was awarded a more than $6400 grant by the Baker-Polito Administration to assist in the purchase of a gear cleaning machine that will reduce firefighter exposure to cancer-causing chemicals on the job. Through a Washer-Extractor Equipment Grant, awarded to 75 fire departments across the Commonwealth, Andover Fire Rescue will have dedicated funds for the purchase of a new washer-extractor to clean their structural firefighting gear after exposure to smoke and other toxic chemicals.
“A firefighter may face multiple hazards in the course of a day, including exposure to toxic cancer causing chemicals,” said Chief Mansfield. “Andover Fire Department appreciates the emphasis that the Baker-Polito Administration is making on firefighter cancer prevention in making these grants—not only in Andover, but across the Commonwealth.”
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.
“These grants will help local departments purchase critical gear to support firefighters as they put themselves in harm’s way to protect the Commonwealth’s communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Helping to protect them from the physical and occupational hazards of the job is a key way we can show our appreciation for the dedicated service of our first responders.”